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Houseboat on the Eilbekkanal

Hamburg, Germany
1 of 11
The boat is used as a home and studio

The houseboat is located on the Eilbek canal in Hamburg and was designed by a young architect couple, Rost Niederehe Architekten, as part of a competition in 2007. Their design encompassed a mixed-use space that incorporated home and office.


Hamburg has the biggest port in Germany and is known for its harbour and waterways. However over the past century these canals have changed greatly due to the cultivation of the surrounding land. The growth of urban areas and the need for transportation routes has meant some of these canals and watercourses have disappeared. Yet property with access to the water remains in high demand.

The demand for this form of living is high which is evidenced through the city's urban development agency. Right now official mooring areas for permanent residences on the water are missing, but the process has been started: Germany's first settlement with a new houseboat generation has been completed.

Urban Competition

An urban competition was held for the design of ten houseboats which would be moored as a settlement on the Eilbek canal.

Rost Niederehe Architekten put forward their dream houseboat design with no serious speculation of winning. However with a design that blends a traditional family home with the integral characteristics of a houseboat, their proposal won.


The outcome is a design which expresses a clear architectural language. A single wrapping wall slices from the outside to the inside, separating the public and private spaces. The division of public and private space is reiterated again through the levels. The upper level, and entrance level, houses the kitchen and dining rooms while the lower deck has the private areas of bedrooms, bathroom and living quarters.

The material choice was influenced by the technical requirements of naval architecture, thus being mostly steel and wood. However this in turn also influenced the overall design.

Adaptive Use

The residents work and live on the houseboat. A major consideration for houseboats is that when the mooring area needs to be changed, it can simply be moved to a new destination with the help of a tug.

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  1. Homedsgn
  2. Archithema (German)
  3. Rost Niderehe Architekten (German)
aleeshacallahan, May 7th, 2013
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