With oceans, lakes, and rivers taking up a major chunk of the Earth’s surface, it was only a matter of time before structures typically reserved for land began to make their way to the water. As far back as the early 1900s — and likely earlier — the concept of creating a house on water began taking shape, popping up in water-friendly cities such as Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Portland, Oregon. Over the years, countries like Zimbabwe, India, and Laos have utilized houseboats to entertain tourists, travel from city to city, or simply enjoy some time spent off land.
While there still exists a community of these traditional houseboats, the market for lavish floating homes is at an all-time high. This new crop of luxurious, contemporary, and — at times — outrageous floating homes took the real estate world by storm, and we’ve found 12 of our absolute favorites from around the globe. With most of these designs coming from the minds of brilliant architects the world over, the following homes are truly works of incredible art and stunning construction. If the thought of a house that can sink makes you uncomfortable, we’ve also rounded up some of the wildest shipping container homes.