Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Portable Architecture


Jennifer Siegel nails it again, with her term "new nomadism", describing the trend towards mobile, lightweight, eco-friendly lifestyles. We're working and living in a very different way, and yet our buildings have remained static, heavy structures. Our cars are smart, our clothing is smart, our materials are smart and our buildings are still these heavy boxes."

Jennifer uses examples like Burning Man, Glastonbury or even RV cities like Quartzite in Arizona that mushrooms from 3,000 in summer to 100,000 in winter, when it is over-run by snowbirds from Canada and northern states: instant cities composed of mobile, portable buildings.


burning man
Steve Rose chronicles the rise of portable architecture in the Guardian: "Compact homes make a lot of sense. Considerably cheaper than existing ones, they use far less energy, and utilise otherwise redundant space and materials. And if you don't like where you live, you can just pick up your home and put it somewhere else."

He notes also that it isn't new: "While cities and towns composed of static dwellings are the dominant model for society, there are still plenty of nomadic communities who take their dwellings with them. And we're not just talking about Mongolian yurts and Bedouin tents.....

"This is not the first generation to explore such ideas. Many 20th-century designers sought to harness the liberating possibilities of technology, but most failed. There was the French Utopie group with their inflatable, "pneumatic" architecture. In Britain, we had the sci-fi fantasies of the Archigram team, such as the famous Walking City - which literally got up on its legs and wandered about - and the Plug-In City, a permanent megastructure into which mobile units such as individual homes could connect and disconnect as they wished, making for a city permanently in flux." ::Guardian


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