Ar­chi­tec­ture on the go

“Mo­bi­tec­ture: ar­chi­tec­ture on the Move” a new book by de­sign writer Re­becca Roke, shows the vast range of new mo­bile hous­ing struc­tures in­spired by the grow­ing ur­ban­iza­tion and new ma­te­ri­als.

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At one end of the con­struc­tion spec­trum, ar­chi­tects are de­sign­ing build­ings that are taller, com­plexer and grander than ever be­fore and on the other hand are the mo­bile struc­tures for crowded cities that in­spire smaller, sus­tain­able and fun liv­ing.

Por­ta­ble projects, be­sides be­ing fun also give ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers a way to im­me­di­ately re­spond to the so­cial is­sues and the larger de­sign chal­lenges of to­day. By com­pil­ing nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples of these small-scale ex­per­i­ments, Roke has shown that these projects, freed from the nor­mally ex­ten­sive time­lines of stan­dard build­ings, of­ten al­low ar­chi­tects to quickly re­spond to the so­cial is­sues chal­leng­ing con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety. “There’s in­creas­ing po­lit­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal mi­gra­tion, and this is prompt­ing de­sign­ers to ask how their skills can be used to of­fer so­lu­tions,” she said. “At the same time, the in­creas­ing gap be­tween rich and poor is prompt­ing the ques­tion of how we can make more af­ford­able, qual­ity places for ‘nor­mal’ peo­ple to live in.”

The small, flex­i­ble pop-up struc­tures in pub­lic space across the cities are bring­ing to life va­cant or un­der­uti­lized spa­ces and pro­vid­ing a cre­ative draw to the peo­ple.”in a sur­pris­ing and some­times be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of forms, ma­te­ri­als, col­ors, sizes and lo­ca­tions, Mo­bi­tec­ture demon­strates that ar­chi­tec­ture is very much on the move,” Roke writes in the in­tro­duc­tion of her book.

Adapt­able, light­weight, re­spon­sive to lo­cal con­di­tions and with the abil­ity to travel al­most any­where with ease: these in­her­ent qual­i­ties of 'mo­bi­tec­ture' im­ply the op­po­site of our usual sta­tion­ary, brick'and' mor­tar'bound ex­is­tences.

Struc­tures with dif­fer­ent mode of move­ment, rang­ing from multi-wheels, sleds and wa­ter show how de­signs can com­bine a sense of play­ful­ness and pur­pose. The smaller scale al­lows more peo­ple to ex­per­i­ment in this field and pro­vokes in­ven­tive­ness. “A tight fo­cus in de­sign pa­ram­e­ters of­ten al­lows for bet­ter and more in­ter­est­ing out­comes,” said Roke

The roots of mo­bile, smaller struc­tures can be traced back to the ‘60s in­flat­able ar­chi­tec­ture and eco-con­scious at­ti­tudes. To­day, both the af­ford­abil­ity is­sues as well as the refugee cri­sis are in­flu­enc­ing the cre­ation of egal­i­tar­ian struc­tures. For ex­am­ple, An­gela Luna’s cap­sule range cross­ing the Bound­ary, cloth­ing that turns into tem­po­rary struc­tures, the RCA Wear­able Habi­ta­tion, a Tyvek jacket-turned tent, or the Le­banese Amer­i­can School’s plas­tic crate shel­ters.

Many of the ad­vances in this field of mo­bile de­sign can be found at pop-up dis­plays which of­fer the young de­sign­ers a chance to ex­per­i­ment with light­weight, col­lapsi­ble, de­mount­able, or mo­du­lar de­signs.roke sees some of the in­ge­nu­ity and flex­i­bil­ity on dis­play as of­fer­ing po­ten­tial so­lu­tions to prob­lems that will con­sume the next gen­er­a­tion of ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers and ur­ban plan­ners.

Walden raft by elise morin and florent al­bi­net is a float­ing french cabin the ref­er­ences thoreau fa­mous es­cape

the cater­pil­lar by dutch de­signer lam­bert Kamps­made from PVC and Steel ca­bles, Of­fers a Por­ta­ble, itin­er­ant the­ater that holds up to 30.

um­brella house by roke

camper-kart by amer­i­can Kevin cyr

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