Egg-shaped houseboat, anyone?
The eye-catching radome has already become a Hong Kong landmark, sitting 50 metres high on top of the new cruise terminal building at Kai Tak. A radome provides a weatherproof casing “transparent to radar” and is usually a golf ball. This one is an interesting egg shape and has led its design team, headed by BMT Asia Pacific’s Richard Colwill and Henry Ward of Henry Ward Design, to think outside of the, er, egg box.
A house in two halves
Being made of tough glass reinforced plastic makes the egg strong and weatherproof. This gave the designers an original left field idea – futuristic houseboats - “Sea Suites” - made from the two prefabricated half shells of their egg. The radome comes down to earth as a funky eco-friendly sustainable house, either on water or on land.
A floating lodge takes the form of the mould’s original shape: 18m long, by 12m wide by 8m high, to make a two-bedroom home. Expansive but shaded windows flood the 6m high sitting area, with light from either side, while decking creates easy access to the water. It sounds delightful.
Colwill notes, “In the same way that an egg provides a flexible base for many recipes, we see countless opportunities in the development of this design for private or commercial use. The familiar, yet innovate form could be readily deployed along river and coastal sites, and a beach house variant has even been developed. We look forward to working with individuals and companies on our firsts units.”
The addition of a 5hp outboard engine, would bring the egg house to the status of "vessel" and they could be readily installed at any moorings in Hong Kong, says Colwill.” We believe they would work well here. Existing sites at Hebe Haven would be ideal, but other opportunities could be as Outward Bound accommodation in more remote sites across Hong Kong waters - provided they were sufficiently protected from typhoon waves.”
Given that the moulds already exist, how much would an egg houseboat coast? This depends on internal fit out, he says. It could be a five star hotel/yacht specification, or something more simple.
Colwill has already worked out that the Sea Suites could be built and fitted out in a local yard in Zhuhai, and then transported by container ship, unloaded and towed to the site. “If we were looking for a remote beach cabin we would tow to the site, and slide up the beach with minimal construction impact,” he says.
After reviewing opportunities for use of the mould’s two “half shells” which formed the egg, a series of options from swimming pools to temporary stages were also considered, but the first offspring of the egg will be waterborne and coastal structures.
Henry Ward sees infinite possibilities. “We’ve just scraped the surface of the design flexibility available, from individual houseboat and lakeland lodge to resort cabin, marina office, beach house, and even art galleries and other novel commercial spaces.” So come on all you visionaries out there, order an egg house so we can see one for real.