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Arkup #1: floating like a butterfly, solid as a rock


Floating villa, mobile yacht and stable home: Arkup #1 is all of these things. This world first was presented as the ‘next-generation floating home’ at the Miami Yacht Show earlier this year. Not only is Arkup #1 a luxury, two-storey floating villa, it also is a 22-metre, electrically propelled yacht. Another novel feature of Arkup #1 is a system of four hydraulic legs, allowing it to anchor in up to 6-metre water depths and lift the house just above the waterline. Arkup #1 then changes from a floating villa into a stable stilt house able to withstand hurricanes. The innovative ‘floating home’ has a retractable Esthec Terrace. Esthec has been involved in the development of Arkup #1 from the beginning. The architect of the floating villa, Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL, is keen to continue working with Esthec on future floating home developments.

Both innovative and extremely eco-friendly, Arkup #1 is entirely CO2 neutral, off grid and self-sufficient in its energy and water supply. The floating villa is powered by solar energy and comes with a range of technical innovations including an installation for the collection and purification of rainwater.

Arkup #1 is the answer to the rise in sea levels and flooding risks, says its architect, Koen Olthuis. The water dwellings he has designed with his company Waterstudio.NL in the last 15 years have been built across the world. His drive, in his own words, is “to make cities perform better”. Olthuis: ‘Today's cities are too static in nature: buildings are constructed in one place to last for decades. Once they are there, there is nothing you can change about the city, whereas the needs of a city change continuously. Urbanisation increases the pressure on cities, while climate change increases the risk of floods. Floating homes enable cities to make optimum and safe use of the space available: on the water.’

Focused on innovation
Arkup #1 has a retractable outdoor terrace featuring Esthec. Waterstudio.NL chose the durable terrace material not just based on its product qualities. Olthuis: ‘Of course: Esthec is extremely wear resistant and 100% recyclable. Plus it has a great feel to it. Design-wise, the decking planks look amazing. They are supplied tailor made and then put together like a puzzle. What is even more important to me than the product itself is the philosophy and the ‘spirit’ of the company. I see the same passion for improvement and innovation that we have at Waterstudio.NL in Esthec. When I first went to visit Esthec I thought I was going to meet with some flooring people, but I ended up in a laboratory. The company is not just interested in producing and installing flooring, but wants to be part of the thinking process and is very much focused on innovation. They constantly ask themselves how flooring can be made more interactive, intelligent and dynamic. For me as an architect it has been fantastic to have Esthec involved in the development of Arkup #1 from the beginning. Our close relationship will be very useful for the further development of floating houses. I am convinced that we can build on Esthec’s expertise.’

‘The sustainable and innovative quality of Arkup #1 appealed to us right away’ says Esthec Managing Director Marcel van der Spek. ‘It is also special to work on such a unique project together with a Dutch architect. We believe in his vision of dynamic cities and how floating houses play a crucial role in this. In yacht building, Esthec has already proved itself as an extremely durable decking material. It is unaffected by sun and salt water as well as easy to keep clean. Those product qualities were key in the development of Arkup #1: the outdoor terrace had to be easy to use and even easier to maintain.’

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