A Cabin So Light, It Floats

Russian architect Ivan Ovchinnikov has designed a mobile, modular and eco-friendly retreat.
22 August, 2017
The DD16 house designed by the Russian firm BIO-architects is a prototype made for some of the harshest weather conditions.
When it was time to test it in the wilds of the real world, it ultimately turned up in an unlikely place. The house, equipped with modular pontoons, was floating on a lake near Moscow.

That's because Russian architect Ivan Ovchinnikov planned the 16-square-meter cabin to be light enough to float, creating a space flexible enough to be used as a studio for creative solitude, for a romantic escape, for fishing or outdoors sports enthusiasts, or even as a tiny houseboat to call home.
The DD16 is the latest iteration of lightweight modular housing that BIO, in partnership with DublDom, offers as a housing solution that's easy to build on its laminated timber frame. The cabin comes as two modules clad in composite aluminium sheets insulated with polyurethane foam, and the pontoons. The two segments are light enough to be put in place by crane or helicopter, which means they're ideally suited for use in remote locations in extreme environments and where terrain presents a challenge – but when the pontoon floats are in place, they can be set down and assembled right on the water.

From the outside, the cabins look like any small house or shed. When looking closer, though, it's the front porch – or perhaps dock – that draws attention. At seven square meters, with a roof above it, it's the perfect place to enjoy the view on a summer night or to set up for ice fishing or other winter pursuits. The wall behind the porch is floor-to-ceiling glass, making a seamless transition from the inside to out.
Images: Inhabitat
Inside, the "tiny house" feel of the floating cabin looks open and expansive. Three of the four zones in the living area – the bedroom, kitchen space and living room – are connected, with just the bathroom closed off for privacy. Nothing appears crowded or cluttered; the sleeping space accommodates a double bed comfortably while offering a spectacular view, as does the living space closer to the door. The kitchen is elegant enough for wine glasses and linens, with plenty of drawer and cupboard space.

The whole cabin is off-grid too. Solar energy powers its lighting, tech and other electricity needs; the water system relies on the fresh-water lake, and a composting toilet keeps all the systems eco-friendly. It's also meant to be accessible, so that the Russian modules can be used anywhere in the world.
Image: Curbed
"The whole construction is designed for factory production, on-site installation and the ability to easily and quickly move the house from place to place," BIO explains. "We optimized all the works on the site as their cost and labor costs are much higher than in the factory, and the efficiency of work on the water or high in the mountains differs from working on a flat site."

There's only one catch when it comes to shipping, and that's because the modules don't fit in standard shipping containers and the expense is considerable when compared with the cost of the floating cabin itself. For that reason, DublDom seeks partnerships with manufacturers around the globe interested in building and delivering its line of modular homes locally. The company ships to Russia and Europe, and they have a new partner in the Czech Republic, but folks further afield need to ask about availability.
Banner image: Arch Daily