Boat Envy


A replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon stopped in town last week.

Whether you know it or not, architects have boat envy. Yup. The people that design our built environment are jealous, and it comes down to one thing:

Boats have to float, and houses do not.

Think about it for just a second. The rigors imposed by higher standards (i.e. floating in water versus simply repelling it) create an object of higher quality. Moving through water dictates supple curves and bold lines. The entire boat has to be well crafted otherwise it may sink. On a whole, homes aren’t built to the same standard. The cost per square foot would be too high. If you don’t believe me play this fun game: Compare how far $1 million gets you in yacht dollars versus house dollars. It’s not even close.

But it’s not just money or high levels of craftsmanship. The requirements of sea worthiness create really tight restrictions on design. From the shape and size of the hull all the way down to fuel gauges and seat cushions.

The Scotty, on display at the Antique Boat Museum

The lesson I glean from this is that restrictions create the need for ingenuity. In boat design form must follow function because there isn’t room for the extraneous. The aesthetic of functionality forces beauty in design.


The next time you are stuck in a box don’t run away. Finding the solution will make you better.


2 thoughts on “Boat Envy

  1. Bravo! Well said Fhlomas! How did you cram 80 years of wisdom into 26? Actually, if you dont mind, i’d like to piggy back on your idea of working one’s way out of a box instead of running from it in my next newsletter…

    Sent from my iPhone



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