BBVH's Boathouse in Amsterdam
A Belgian barge has been transformed into a light and airy home
BBVH Architects - a company based in The Netherlands - have transformed a Belgian barge into a light-filled houseboat in Amsterdam. The 40m long vessel spent its previous life hauling freight over the European rivers and its new owners; artist Laura and restaurant owner John, wanted the ship to remain navigable. So they decided not to demolish or refurbish the steering hut, deckhouse or machine room.
The architects' main concern here was letting enough light through to the interior, while still maintaining the safety and certification aspects of the ship. To avoid a sense of gloominess, often associated with traditional houseboats, a large patio and 18 huge bronze portholes were introduced, plus the enclosed courtyard consists of an outdoor bathtub and a pear tree – a safe area for the children to play outside without the risk of them falling overboard.
Besides the portholes, no incisions were made to the hull of the ship and the entrance into the house is via another, smaller patio just in front of the steering hut.
The construction offers an unusual amount of space for the centre of Amsterdam, the shipmate's small hut at the front of the boat has been re-appropriated as a children's room, and the master bedroom is located further along the corridor, connected directly to the outdoor patio. Lastly, the deckhouse and steering hut have been restored as an independent apartment that can be rented out separately...