Small, modular designs

(Chad Elwartowski) #1

My Viva Vivas design is focused on being able to invest in a small unit that can then be attached to others and grow organically costing under $20k per unit.

I have since upgraded the design with feedback from the folks in that thread.

My thoughts are that if no other project gets the ball rolling by 2018 I will move to Thailand and begin building a prototype unit with my own funds. Once one is built I will live in/on it while building a second one to see how well two connect together. Then start selling if it is viable.

What happened to the scaleable seasteads idea?

That looks pretty good Elwar. It’s the first time I see your Vivas Design! I had been working on a rhomboid modular unit lately,…we can exchange notes if u want.

But isn’t 233 sq.ft. a bit low?

(Chad Elwartowski) #3

It is quite low, especially by US standards. But it is liveable. I lived in a containerized housing unit while in Afghanistan and Iraq which were about 150sqft.

My apartment afterwards was 35sqm which is about 375sqft and I felt like there was a lot of wasted space. The 233sqft also does not factor in the top level (outside) area.

The idea is that if we can start at the smallest livable unit, but make it modular so that the one unit now becomes your bedroom/bathroom, another unit is your kitchen/living area, another unit is a guest area, etc. You can start small and grow over time.

And if you look at places like Hong Kong, some people would be quite pleased with so much room.

(Chad Elwartowski) #4

I like your design. I like that it could easily connect many units together. The house and patio thing is pretty slick.

I put a sample rhombus shape with two units combined:


Thank’s. It’s funny how we were working at (almost) the same thing independent of each other…

Anyway, my design, as shown is 40’ LOA, 27’ BEAM, 4’ DRAFT.

Total area: 1080 sq.ft. (2 decks)

Living area: 780 sq.ft.

Beach (patio) area: 250 sq.ft.

2 bedroom-2 bath-kitchen. Roof as pictured w/solar panels.

Inside layout.

Main deck. Lounge.

Lower deck. Galley

Aft stateroom.

Forward stateroom


A smaller 1 bed-1 bath can be built, or just a studio. BUT, I wouldn’t “separate” the bedroom as one module or the living room as another module, etc. My concept is a compact, “all in one” unit-module, turn key.

He, he,…luxury brother :smile: In the Romanian Navy my bunk was 6’ x 2’ in a 40 sailors dorm. Personally I don’t mind small spaces, but for the rest of wanna be seasteaders, anything under (lets say) 400 sq.ft. might be a bit tight, in my opinion…

Anyway, the idea was that rafting up those modules built with various functionalities in mind (residential, public spaces, docking, commercial, etc.) will form a floating island.

(Chad Elwartowski) #6

Very cool setup. Great configuration for putting them together. I’d live in one.

Any estimates on the cost of one unit? Material?



Hard to estimate cost since it depends on the price of labor, materials and the leasing price of the construction site. The bigger and more “high tech” the more expensive. Also, if DIY much cheaper than contracting a marine construction company to build it for you.

Material wise I would use a mix of plywood, ferrocement and fiberglass. I would built the whole structure in 1" marine plywood. Then, I would sheath the whole bottom and the topsides up to the gunwales in ferrocement and fiberglass the rest of the structure, inside and out.

The 40’ LOA x 27’ BEAM unit was a design prototype for a floating resort in the Keys, therefore a bit expensive in a range of $150k-250k.

I have a 32’ LOA x 19’ BEAM (1 bed-1 bath, 450 sq.ft.) design that I would consider “ideal” for a close to shore small seastead start up, in a DIY range of $50k-$85k.

That if a new construction would be the choice to go,…which I’m not quite convince of yet, given the fact that I can still buy a 35’ boat in Florida for around $10k and convert it to a “seasteading unit” of any shape by adding floating docks around it,…But that’s another story.

(John) #8

Hi Guy’s! I would put a little arch or peak to the roof for strength and to let the water run off easier…


The roof truss was under construction :smile:

Hi John,

Is been a while. What have you been up to?

(John) #10

Well, since I lost that bet oh so long ago:) I’ve just been keeping on keeping on. Just haven’t had a lot to contribute. I see you’ve scaled back your design: I like it!


What bet? That seasteading would happen under the TSI “umbrella” by 2010? :smile:


(John) #12

I can’t remember now who it was who had the submerging design but I bet $20 dollars that it wouldn’t surface: I lost fair and square at in model form. In ‘real life’ I still do not think it would work.

(Chad Elwartowski) #13

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