Crossboundaries converts houseboat into tiny solar-powered home

Exterior of Fàng Sōng houseboat in Berlin by Crossboundaries

Beijing architecture studio Crossboundaries has carried out “a full makeover” of a boat to create a tiny solar-powered house named Fàng Sōng.

Transformed from the client’s existing houseboat, the 60-square-metre home by is moored in Berlin and features a series of interlinked, adaptable spaces.

According to Crossboundaries, Fàng Sōng is able to travel as far as 50 kilometres per day and is powered by solar panels.

Houseboat in Berlin by Crossboundaries
Crossboundaries has transformed a boat into a tiny solar-powered house

“In essence, the project was a full makeover with the intention of maximising the benefits that the boat delivered,” studio co-founder Binke Lenhardt told Dezeen.

“Lots of light, a fully functional but not really appealing bathroom, and most importantly the opportunity to take it for short and long trips within Germany and Europe,” she continued.

“With enough space for up to two people as well as guests, it had the potential to easily become a personal retreat for re-energising, and a cosy getaway for friends and family.”

Deck of Fàng Sōng houseboat in Berlin
Fàng Sōng is moored in west Berlin

While Fàng Sōng is moored in west Berlin, its owner uses it to travel across lakes and rivers around Europe, often relying only on solar panels to power the trips. On sunny days, it achieves an average speed of seven kilometres an hour.

“A set of solar panels covering the entire roof, as well as one additional panel on each side, make the boat self-reliant from March to November,” said Lenhardt.

Red and yellow kitchen of houseboat
It features a kitchen and dining area

To make the most of the limited space, Crossboundaries incorporated multifunctional elements to create adaptable rooms within the boat. They are unified by waterproof rubber flooring and furnishings made from plywood.

A consistent red and yellow colour palette is used throughout, in reference to the Chinese imperial colours and to reflect the client’s time spent in Beijing.

Red living room with yellow sofa
The living room doubles as the main bedroom

“We followed the logic of all transformational furniture elements being red on the outside, and once opened, revealing their yellow interior,” said Lenhardt.

“This palette extended all the way to the kitchen and even the helmstand, with a central part cut out and executed in yellow.”

Fold-out bed in Fàng Sōng houseboat by Crossboundaries
A bed folds out from the wall

A living area that opens onto the deck features a fold-out bed hidden within a partition wall. A wide sofa is positioned in front of it but designed to be lowered when the mattress is required.

Hidden behind this bed unit is a sliding door that can be pulled out to offer privacy when multiple passengers are on board.

In the centre of Fàng Sōng’s living room, Crossboundaries has used a floor panel to disguise an underfloor bike storage unit.

Another folding element in this space is the desk, which is built into a shelving unit in the corner to offer the client space to work without taking up valuable floor space.

Bike storage hidden in the floor
A panel in the floor conceals bike storage

Beyond the living room is a spacious bathroom, separated by walls covered in yellow tiles.

At the end of the boat is a kitchen with red cabinets and a removable dining table that can be attached in multiple ways.

Bathroom by Crossboundaries lined with yellow tiles overlooking water
The bathroom is lined with yellow tiles

At this end of the boat is also an additional folding bed, positioned to conceal the controls of the boat and give the house a more homely feel.

When pulled out, this bed projects out over the control deck and is surrounded by large windows offering views of the water.

Deck of Fàng Sōng houseboat in Berlin
There is a deck with a sofa

Outside, Fàng Sōng’s deck is furnished with a long sofa featuring patterned fabrics gathered by the client during her years of travel.

Other houseboats recently featured on Dezeen include a holiday home on Lake Tisza informed by fishing boats and a floating home informed by Japanese design in Amsterdam.

The photography is by Johanna Link.

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