Construction of Eco-Friendly Futuristic Floating Dwellings is Currently Underway

Construction of Eco-Friendly Futuristic Floating Dwellings is Currently Underway

Luxury living, floating homes, and smart home technologies don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

However, a Panama-based company called Ocean Builders, which specializes in cutting-edge marine technology, has just shown a fleet of “revolutionary living pods” that manage to combine all three.

The pods, which vary in price from around $295,000 to $1.5 million and are being built at the Linton Bay Marina on Panama’s north coast, are being dubbed the “world’s first eco-restorative homes.”

Designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and his team at Waterstudio, the three models available include flagship model the SeaPod, built for aquatic living, the GreenPod, devised for land use, and the EcoPod, an ecologically and economically friendly option.

‘Elevated structure’

The Seapod was conceptualized by Rüdiger Koch, Head of Engineering at Ocean Builders, along with Chief Executive Officer Grant Romundt, as a solution to the lack of space in popular beach destinations.

The three and a half storey, elevated building offers 833 square feet (73 square meters) of living space, including a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

The unit, which can accommodate two people, floats 7.5 feet (2.2 meters) above the waves using over 1,688 cubic feet of air-filled steel tubes. It also has 575 square feet of panoramic windows with 360-degree ocean views.

In addition to allowing residents to live on the water without having to give up the “luxuries of modern living,” Romundt thinks the design will challenge perceptions about housing and travel.

“Normally when you live on the water, it’s on a boat, which has a living situation that is unacceptable to most people,” Romundt tells CNN Travel.

“So we’ve designed a home that floats on the water that gives you an experience of living on land, but even more.”

Modern technology will be included in the pods, along with applications that may be customized to fit the needs of the people using them.

‘Futuristic homes’

Meanwhile, special “smart rings” worn by residents will enable them to unlock doors and switch their music on at the wave of a hand.

“If technology company Apple had built a home, I think you would end up with the SeaPod, or the GreenPod, or the EcoPod,” says Romundt. “There’s a lot of technology built into the homes.”

“I like to think of it as, instead of having a phone as a digital assistant, your home actually becomes your assistant, and you can use it to optimize your life.”

The pods will initially be located in an area close to the Linton Bay Marina. However, once the Ocean Builders team is certain that the technology can be sustained elsewhere, they want to be able to distribute them globally.

A long-time advocate for oceanfront living, Romundt previously lived in a floating home in Toronto, and says it’s a lifestyle that’s hard to match.

“There’s just something really magical about being able to get up in the morning, walk downstairs, jump on a paddleboard and go for a paddle,” he explains.

‘Delivery drones’

It’s very peaceful and beautiful. The majority of people daydream about their two-week getaway to a tropical island where they can hang out, relax, regenerate, and replenish themselves during the entire year.

“So why not just live like that all year round? It’s so easy to be able to work remotely now.”

The team doesn’t particularly have a certain kind of consumer in mind, according to Romundt, although individuals who choose to live in one of these particular units will probably need to have a sense of adventure and a love of water.

In fact, he is certain that the majority of people who have the chance to use the Seapod even for a short period of time will be eager to purchase one.

“When I lived in my floating house in Toronto, every single person that came over to visit fell in love with the place,” he says.

“So all I need to do is to get people to step on board a Seapod for five minutes. The experience will just blow your mind. It’s really incredible.”

But what about practicalities such as buying groceries, as well as traveling back and forth from the pod to the mainland?

According to Romundt, customized aerial delivery drones are to be used to deliver items such as food and medicine, as well as “everyday smaller items.”

There is a separate autonomous vessel for larger cargo that will also serve as an ocean recycling vessel, gathering trash and waste to keep the environment clean.

‘Eco-restorative homes’

Dinghy boats, jet skis, local water taxis, as well as residents’ and visitors’ own boats or vehicles, are all options for getting to and from the SeaPod.

There is a 1,250 square foot storage room inside, despite the fact that they undoubtedly seem to be targeted toward people who take a more minimalist approach.

With a focus on sustainability, the pods have been devised “to benefit the surrounding environment” and provide “a natural habitat for ocean life to occupy and thrive.”

“We’re trying to build and design a home that is good for the environment, and doesn’t harm the environment,” explains Romundt.

“And we’re always trying to innovate and to find ways to do that in an even better way. We’re not perfect right now, but we’re trying to get better and better all the time.”

The first finished pods will be made public online in late September, and prospective buyers will be able to visit and see them in person shortly after that.

“People have been trying to buy them for years,” Romundt says, explaining that the Ocean Builders team decided not to take deposits until buyers could actually see the pods in real life.

‘Massive undertaking’

“This is something so new. And there are so many real estate things that people put money into which never actually happen.”

“We didn’t want to take deposits until people could actually come down and set foot on a pod. So I’m excited that we’re finally at that point.”

“This is a massive undertaking. I wanted to have it done two years ago. But to have it done in only three and a half years is pretty amazing.”

The Floating Seahorse, a project by Kleindienst Group consisting of 131 floating villas, will be part of the $5 billion mega-resort The Heart of Europe project on The World artificial archipelago off the coast of Dubai. The Seapods are one of a number of new floating home concepts set to launch within the next few years.

Those who snap up one of the first 100 Ocean Builders pods will be able to move in by the end of 2023, providing everything goes to plan. Production is scheduled to begin on a further 1,000 pods by 2024.