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Community / Public space

There's a full-sized house floating down the Thames

Your correspondents had quite a shock today on the banks of the Thames. Just past Tower Bridge was a bright blue floating house, pulled along by a tugboat and flanked by its very own garden. 

Here it is on its way to Chelsea this morning:

Twitter was excited, too:

White papers from our partners

We weren’t left guessing long as to its purpose, however – there’s a fairly obvious logo on the front of the house:

Yes, friends: it’s an advertising stunt. Airbnb has sent a floating house onto the river for the rest of this week, until it docks at Putney Pier on 22 May. You can also apply to win a free stay in the house for a night while it’s in Putney. 


The house itself was designed by Nick and Steve Tidball, two brothers who studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Here’s what they had to say on the project:

We were inspired to create a fairy tale structure in the middle of London – something that would allow people to see the city from a different angle. 

It was crucial to us that this was a real house, not just a stage set. One that Airbnb guests would feel truly comfortable in. That’s why it had to provide more than just bedrooms and a bathroom. Visitors will get to enjoy a hand-picked book collection, a dog kennel, and their very own private garden – the kind of things that make a house a home. 

This project brings to life so many things we hold dear, from the whimsy of our favourite Pixar films to the charming architecture of Primrose Hill. We love the idea that this house will see more in five days than most other houses see in a hundred years. 

An affordable house with a garden in central London? A fairytale indeed. 
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