Alongside the use of sustainable building materials, and innovative energy-saving techniques, another step in reducing a new home’s impact on the environment can be to build upon land once considered undesirable for human habitation. The “Like a Houseboat” property by Shipley Architects ticks all three boxes, with steel stilts enabling the single-family residence to be built upon poor-quality soil once home to a landfill.
Bringing to mind the Edgeland Residence property we previously reported on, "Like a Houseboat" also sees unappealing land reclaimed for building a home upon – in this case a former landfill site. However, the land for this particular project was impractical for supporting a building of any significant size, as the loose soil has an unsuitably low bearing capacity.
There are several potential solutions to such a challenge, but the proposal put forward by Shipley Architects was both novel and cost-effective – the team “floated” the house on 60 foot (roughly 18 meter) steel stilts, supported by concrete piers. This approach is said to have reduced the impact of the construction on the recovering landscape.
As you can see from the gallery photos, the house sits relatively close to the ground, appearing to float just above the surface. This, in addition to a gangplank-like metal ramp which provides access to the home, combined to inspire its appealing moniker.
Shipley Architects incorporated several 2 x 12 inch (5 x 30 cm) wooden planks – salvaged from the same dance floor once used by the owners at their wedding party – into the main floor frame, and pressure-treated wood was used as a siding material. A geothermal heating system is also tasked to keep the temperature at a comfortable level with a minimum of energy.
The 1,490 square-foot (138 square-meter) "Like a Houseboat" residence has achieved LEED Platinum status and is located on Urban Reserve, Dallas, a development of 50 modern homes individually designed with energy efficiency in mind.