H2O house

If you’ve ever wished you could live in the water without compromising your oxygen supply, you’re in luck! Hungarian architect, Matyas Gutai, has designed a house made of water, held in place by glass and steel panels.

The ingenious water panels serve an interesting purpose- to maintain the indoor temperature of the house. In addition to keeping the house a comfortable temperature all year, this “liquid engineering” technique allows the house to heat itself during the colder months. Phoebe Parke of CNN explains that, “when it’s hot excess heat is stored either in the foundations of the building or in external storage, to be brought back to the walls when the temperature drops.”

Matyas Gutai with the water house. Graphic from CNN
Matyas Gutai with the water house. Graphic from CNN

Since the house can heat and cool itself, not only will residents save a fortune on electric bills, but the house design could also help the environment. “It saves energy, when you compare it to a similar building with large glass surfaces — it’s a very clean and sustainable solution,” said Gutai.

Of course, it may be a while before you start to see these structures pop up in your neighborhood. The biggest question raised so far: what happens if the temperature drops too low and the water freezes? This is a fair point, seeing as no one in the world would sign up to live in a house of ice during the coldest part of the winter. Gutai responded, “We now mix the water with natural solvents, that do not cause pollution but lower the freezing temperature to an acceptable level. Even if the reheating technology fails, the water cannot freeze.” Another potential risk brought up was the question of what would happen if a panel broke. Gutai was prepared for this as well stating, “We designed special joint units. The joint elements allow slow flow, but block faster flows.”

Gutai has been working on this project for almost a decade. It took him six years of work at the University of Tokyo before a prototype of the house was finally created and structural problems could begin to be addressed.

While the water house seems like something out of the future right now, it may (in the next few decades) become the norm. Gutai expressed his desire to incorporate this technology into major cities, therefore saving energy that they use daily. Gutai is starting small, trying to get factories and companies across Europe to begin utilizing his ideas, but so far the research is holding up and the water house seems like it could slowly begin taking the world by storm.