Dutch houseboat design integrates cork


In the Netherlands, architecture firm Studio RAP has designed a houseboat that replaces a large amount of wood and other building materials with cork—lowering the floating home’s environmental impact in the process.

The Dutch houseboat is comprised of a timber structure clad solely in cork. A low-density layer acts as insulation while a denser outer layer bonded by mortar creates walls that breathe but provide a comfortable interior climate.

The use of light-weight cork and an origami-inspired, digitally designed layout reduced the use of timber by about 2 tons.   “The expanded cork used in this project is a pure plant-based material with a unique ecological original giving the building an exceptionally low carbon footprint,” the firm tells dwell.com. “Cork is also a great material to manufacture digitally. All cork modules were CNC machined, creating neat seams between them and bespoke window details.”

Sustainability was “central in this digital workflow and guided most design decisions. In this way, the project aspires to push the industry further with sustainable architecture and look beyond the use of conventional construction materials and methods,” Studio RAP adds.