New homes catch the tide

British Waterways plans to build floating apartment blocks for London’s waterways.
Giant barges will be turned into floating apartment designer homes
Float your boat: Five giant barges will be turned into floating apartment designer homes
With the demand for mooring spaces on the Thames rising to an alltime high, British Waterways is to provide new floating designer homes.

BW has bought five Dutch barges and has hired two top architectural firms to remodel them into flats to be sold or rented. The barges measure 38 metres by five metres, which will make the floating flats much more spacious that the average houseboat, it says.

“These big barges are especially good for docks and will give a completely different lifestyle.” BW adds.

The two firms chosen to do the job are known by the initials BACA and PCKO, and both have a strong track records in environmentally friendly design.

“Traditionally, homes afloat have not been very exciting,” says BW. “We want something that will be contemporary and modern; something to aspire to and not just more of the same waterway vernacular you see up and down the country, and something that will be interesting and iconic. We want to stretch people’s attitudes towards waterway living.”

British Waterways has already produced some startling early drawings of how the homes will look, but adds that its plans will also include space for restaurants on the barges.

The vessels to be transformed were first spotted by BW’s London director, Mark Bensted, during a trip to the Netherlands. They are currently being kept near South Quay DLR station; no location or prices have been set yet for their sale or rent.

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