Réka and Balázs live in a small apartment in Budapest. They are young, with many friends, acquaintances and a wide professional network. They approached me in October 2019 with their idea to install a houseboat on Lake Tisza. The idea sprang primarily from their love of the region, and a desire to learn about and experience it more deeply. They envisioned a summerhouse that is not grounded and fixed, but that nevertheless has its place in a wider sense – embedded in this particular environment.
Lake Tisza is a vast, artificial body of water that owes its natural ecosystem to River Tisza, which passes through it. As an architect, I found it highly interesting to conceptualise and design a living space that has no tangible groundwork or foundations. The point of vehicles – their primary function – is to transport. However, the movement of this compact living space intends to enable its occupants to approach the atmosphere of their natural environment as closely as possible – insofar as nature has an ‘atmosphere’. In any case, the boat gives us an opportunity to spend time, eat, drink, sleep and awaken nearly anywhere, while blurring the boundaries between our personal selves and nature itself.
This region has a special character not only in terms of its wildlife, but also because of the human-built environment connected to the River. This character, it seems, stems from the activities that organically shape the waterside huts, dinghies and boats. “The activity” – purpose – takes precedence over intentional organisation and aesthetic speculation, giving way to spontaneity and thus resulting in an honest, authentic, and inimitable environment. The edifices exposed to an active, living natural environment and requiring constant care are themselves similar to their natural environment – in that nothing is notable about their individual aesthetic, but beauty resides in their disposition, the system of which they form part. We aimed to design a boat capable of assimilating into these surroundings, one that may become part of this scenery.