The presence of water has an unexplainable way of drawing us in. The sense of calm or joy felt when people are near water is well documented, but when asked, there are not many people who could pinpoint why it makes them feel uplifted — it just does. Water is emotive and turbulent; it can be still and calm or rough and unpredictable. In this sense, it is relatable to the human psyche and the vast breadth of emotion we feel every day. Comprising over 71% of our planet, water landscapes can soothe us, invigorate us and nourish us. Water is the most omnipresent substance on earth, and along with air, it’s the primary ingredient for supporting life as we know it. Perhaps it is for this reason that we feel inherently connected to it.
Regular proximity to water — especially the sea — is associated with many positive measures of physical and mental well-being, including higher levels of vitamin D and better social interaction. Water provides oxygen, helps moderate the earth’s climate it’s weather and overall health. It gives the planet the balance it needs to support life. With personal well-being at the forefront of much of today’s scientific research, these six properties take full advantage of our greatest resource to create beautiful, health-positive environments. Meanwhile, real estate data suggests that having a water view can increases a property’s value by up to 115 percent, while a hotel room can cost up to 20 percent more if it has a water view. This added value has increased the desire for development on the water’s edge, a demand that architects are responding to creatively. The following six projects use water as an essential ingredient in their designs.
The monolithic building of Casa Mi sits in stark contrast to its natural surroundings. Perched steeply above the water’s edge at Zurich Lake, the lightly pigmented concrete building is a blend of simple lines and tonal planes. The interior is made up of impeccably detailed open. The panorama windows capture vistas perfectly, most notably that of the lake from the ground level, where the pool appears to be an extension of the lake.
In Amsterdam, the Schoonschip floating village consists of 46 individual homes. i29’s Floating Home is one of many built to battle rising sea levels and to provide functional and aesthetic properties outside the dense, polluted city center. Floating Home by i29 is a well-considered building whose form ties closely to an archetypical land home while maximizing space and light. The floating homes are incredibly sustainable, with the canal water providing heat to the homes, while solar panels supply electricity.
Protected by the surrounding forest and simultaneously perched at the water’s edge, Tofino Beach House is designed to in harmony with the ever-changing coastline. Glass walls provide south-facing panoramic views of the forest and the ocean. Essentially a single room, the entire space is filled with light while the cinematic ocean landscape changes with the tides, the seasons and the time of day. By bringing the outside in, the changing landscape is given control over the atmosphere of the interior space.
Set on Baja Peninsula’s southernmost tip and evoking a feeling of relaxation and elegance from the get-go, the iconic Nobu Hotel Los Cabos is a beautiful and serene property. A Japanese minimalist design philosophy develops throughout the hotel with distinctly Mexican styling that references the local culture. The Pacific Ocean sits as the backdrop to the stunning hotel. While swimming in the ocean is not advised in this area, the architect has woven water in pools, fountains and ponds throughout the building that brings the sense of calmness that resonates throughout.
A temporary structure only designed to last 3-5 years, The Park Era Experience Centre is a modular building that uses its materiality to conjure emotion. The blend of glazing, metal and artificial light create visual impact, glowing warmly at night. The architect has cleverly surrounded the building with a sheet of water which could be mistaken for a stage. The still water reflects the building’s intricacies and surroundings changing as the day passes, giving the building an interactive feel that is slow and serene.
Fuchun Resort by The Design Institute Of Landscape & Architecture China Academy Of Art CO., LTD, Jiande, Hangzhou, China
A mesmerizing balance of time-honored luxury, cultural exploration and modern design, Fuchun Resort is the epitome of peace and refinement. Enveloped by the deep mountainside and surrounded by the green-hued water of the Fuchun Lake. Total relaxation and revitalization is the philosophy, and peace and serenity reign supreme throughout. The resort aims to provide rejuvenation — a goal that is supported by the incredible surrounding landscape. The working tea plantation and flowing streams supply visual calm while providing sustenance and vitality.