Following on from her 2016 book Nanotecture, Rebecca Roke travels the world to find some of the fun, surprising and ingenious ways people have created portable homes, with incredible ways to move them.
The new book, Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move, covers everything from airstreams to glamping, but also reflects the sometimes-trying circumstances, for example war or homelessness, that requires people to be creative with how they keep a roof over their head.
Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent, Kaleidoscope and Orange, UK, 2009
Photovoltaic fabric, solar threads, Plexiglas, plastic.
Running out of battery on a festival site would be a thing of the past if all our tents were made with photovoltaic threads that help solar panels capture energy from the Sun. Sadly they’re not, so you’ll just have to keep hold of that old Nokia for now.
DesertSeal, Andreas Vogler, Germany, 2004
Polyethylene-coated fabric, electric fan, solar panel, nylon rope, zipper.
This shoe-like structure is designed to draw cool air in at the top and blow it out through the bottom, cooling the people inside and protecting them from the heat of the desert. Powered by flexible solar panels, this design could one day protect astronauts on the surface of Mars.
You are more likely to hear stories of delivery trucks and bicycles at odds with each other, but this clever design by Nico Jungle marries the two together in an eco-friendly design, with eight heels capable of carrying huge cargos. It has space for two cyclists, but also has a solar-powered motor if only one is available.
Nomad Sauna, Marco Casagrande, Norway, 2012
You might find yourself on the middle of a frozen Norwegian lake, but that’s no reason not to work up a sweat. This sauna on skis has everything you need to keep warm, and even a hole in the bottom for a quick dip in the icy waters.
Waterwalk 1, Spatial Effects, The Netherlands, 2005
Waterwalk is a giant PVC cube big and strong enough to allow the people inside to walk across water. It was created by Spatial Effects, a company that specialises in creating memorable inflatables – being Dutch, we’re not surprised it’s orange.
Bicycle Teardrop Trailer, Matthew Hart Designs, Canada
It might not look like much, but this tiny teardrop was pulled on the back of designer Matthew Hart’s bicycle as he cycled across British Columbia. Inside it has a table, fridge, sleeping space and a small cooker.
Caterpillar, Lambert Kamps, The Netherlands, 2007
PVC, steel cables.
It’s smaller than your regular multiplex, but this inflatable cinema is strong enough to show movies whatever the weather and lightweight enough to rove around the country providing a screen time for up to 30 people.
Camper Kart, Kevin Cyr, USA, 2009
Steel shopping cart, chipboard, nylon, canvas.
Not only is this shopping trolley an ingenious contraption that opens out into a protected bed, it also makes a social comment on the 1930s invention, which is often associated with homelessness.