Floating House / MOS Architects

Architects: MOS – Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample
Location: Ontario,
Design Team: Fred Holt, Chad Burke, Ryan Bollom, Forest Fulton, Temple Simpson, Martin Kredizor, Jimenez Lai
Project year: 2005
Constructed Area: 186 sqm
Engineering: David Bowick, Blackwell Engineering
Construction: Kropf Industries, Penfold Construction
Photographs: Florian Holzherr

This project intersects a vernacular house typology with the site-specific conditions of this unique place: an island on Lake Huron. The location on the Great Lakes imposed complexities to the house’s fabrication and construction, as well as its relationship to site. Annual cyclical change related to the change of seasons, compounded with escalating global environmental trends, cause Lake Huron’s water levels to vary drastically from month-to-month, year-to-year. To adapt to this constant, dynamic change, the house floats atop a structure of pontoons, allowing it to fluctuate along with the lake.


Locating the house on a remote island posed another set of constraints. Using traditional construction processes would have been prohibitively expensive; the majority of costs would have been applied toward transporting building materials to the remote island. Instead, we worked with the contractor to devise a prefabrication and construction process that maximized the use of thee unique character of the site:

Lake Huron as a waterway. Construction materials were instead delivered to the contractor’s fabrication shop, located on t he lake shore. The steel platform structure with incorporated pontoons was built first and towed to the lake outside the workshop. On the frozen lake, near the shore, the fabricators constructed the house.

The structure was then towed to the site and anchored. In total, between the various construction stages, the house traveled a total distance of approximately 80 km on the lake.

The formal envelope of the house experiments with the cedar siding of the vernacular home. This familiar form not only encloses the interior living space, but also enclosed exterior space as well as open voids for direct engagement with the lake. A “rainscreen” envelope of cedar strips condense to shelter interior space and expand to either filter light entering interior spaces or screen and enclose exterior spaces giving a modulated yet singular character to the house, while performing pragmatically in reducing win d load and heat gain.

Cite: "Floating House / MOS Architects" 29 Dec 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 17 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10842>


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    I was very interested in your float structure. I live in a floating cabin on Powell Lake in BC. My float is large cedar logs that are assisted by 55 gallon plastic barrels. Cedar logs are getting harder to come by to construct new floats. I invite you to take a look at my floating home. — Margy

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    Do you think that special authorisation are required (in France) to build such an house? Or can it be considered as a boat?
    Best regards

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    I was just wondering if there were any exploded axometric views of this house to show how the major parts are assembled. Thanks.


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    in a lecture, they mentioned that the house was constructed almost completely from the shown model. construction drawings were almost non existent.

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    i have chosen floating hotel as my thesis project please help me with its structure and suggest some sites and some please also provide me with technical details

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    Great details of images and floor design! It’s nice to see more than just an artist’s mock up of a design for once. Hopefully a style like this will only gain in popularity!

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    Just a note that there is no tide on Lake Huron as mentioned in the article. The raising and lowering of the water is dependent upon which way the wind is blowing causing the water to vary up and down approximately 1′. As mentioned, this is a beautiful cottage with little visual impact on it’s surroundings as it is located in a relatively unpopulated or developed area.

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    is this structure somehow in contact with the base of the lake….or it is supported by bank to keep it static…..?

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    Hi i was just woundering how does this house manage waste and how does this house get fresh water and electricity??

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