Indeed, huts on stilts are not unique to French Polynesia. Some of the finest examples, known as fishing houses, were built at the turn of the 20th century in Pine Island Sound, Florida, where they were primarily staging stations for commercial fishermen to sort and store their catch. A few remain, including one that once belonged to artist Robert Rauschenberg.
“The scale is very intimate – it’s tiny, almost a hybrid between a craftsman’s house and a boat – but you get a 360-degree view from the porch,” said Claire Weisz of WXY, a studio at architecture and urban design in New York City, which oversees the restoration of the property. Although Rauschenberg’s house, now operated by his foundation, was built in 1942, Ms. Weisz said it was in surprisingly good condition after withstanding hurricanes and sea level rise. Built by carpenters whose the specialty was building on stilts, it features spaced piles that allow wind and water to pass safely.
Recently, developers co-opted the idea on the water for even landlocked mansions, like the $ 25 million, 11,000 square foot home in Santa Monica, Calif., Currently under construction for couple Ira and Alice Rosenberg. who turned to development after retiring from the garment trade. A bridge will be needed to enter the house, which is designed as if it is floating above a water-filled courtyard.
At the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, a comprehensive community of residences includes villas with terraces that project onto a lagoon in the heart of the development’s 620-acre nature reserve.
But nothing comes close to the four- and five-bedroom Floating Seahorse homes in Dubai, which each cost 20 million euros (roughly $ 24.4 million). They are part of the man-made archipelago known as the World, just off the coast near Palm Jumeirah. Each offers residents the chance to live not only above water, but also below it, as two of the bedrooms are below the surface.
Josef Kleindienst, chairman of the Kleindienst group, developer of the project, said the idea for these properties came from his determination to explore the waters, even though he fears swimming in the ocean. He said 72 of the planned 133 villas had already been sold, despite the bad publicity that arose when a stand-alone platform provided by the company for a New Year’s Eve party in 2017 sank several days after the event. , while the structure was empty.
“The platform was designed for waves of up to five feet and unfortunately they reached eight,” Mr. Kleindienst said. “The platform couldn’t support it, but if a floating seahorse had been anchored in the same spot, it wouldn’t have sunk, because it’s technically more advanced.