Abandoned shipyard is revived with tiny houses on tracks

tiny houses on tracks
© Tomasz Zablotny and Paweł Maszota

Back in 1980, the Gdańsk Shipyard in Poland was famous worldwide as the site of the first organized resistance against Communism in eastern Europe. Now it's down from over 20,000 workers to about a tenth that number and there are a lot of empty buildings and abandoned rail lines. Dezeen shows the work of Polish architecture students Tomasz Zablotny and Paweł Maszota, who have designed a community of tiny homes that move on those rails.

They are very clever little boxes that telescope out to be larger but still little boxes. The students at the Gdańsk University of Technology tell Dezeen:

Our idea is to create and modulate a transformable housing complex so that a certain part of the post-industrial area would always be a liveable and comfortable space for artists, interns, workers or simply those to whom the unique atmosphere of the site would appeal. It's meant to be an initiative that brings back everyday life to the area, making it liveable during festivals and exhibitions, but also on a day-to-day basis.

The units are shipped in at 1.5 meters (5') by 2.09 meters (6'-10") and then expand out another meter to provide more space for living and sleeping. Pop-outs like this are common on recreational vehicles, but I am not sure it makes any sense here; transportation to the site is a bit more economical but the added complexity and cost of construction will probably be much higher. Although the designers anticipate a lot of movement and transport; Zablotny tells Dezeen:

Units can be easily relocated or reorganised according to changing occasions and needs. This provides maximum efficiency – only as many units as needed are used, while the rest is easily transported to a warehouse.

Furniture is flat-packed of course, and also folds out of the walls. Walls are insulated with aerogel (expensive but thin) and the pop-out is built with a steel frame, making the aerogel completely useless because of thermal breaks. (I know, they are students, I shouldn't be so critical.) There is also no explanation of where the fancy toilet connects.

No more complaints and criticisms, it's a lovely project,beautifully drawn and presented, and a wonderful way of revitalizing a brownfield site. If you read Polish, lots more information here.

Abandoned shipyard is revived with tiny houses on tracks
A very clever system of rolling and expanding boxes are designed by Polish students.

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