When Nissan showed its fantasy electric mobile office with its elaborate pop-up espresso machine, there were questions about cost and about the fact that one couldn’t stand up, even why the guy doesn’t take off his fedora while he works. The whole thing seemed implausible.
But there are people who are taking the issue of the mobile workplace seriously; the appropriately named Guerilla Architects have designed Bastian der Stadt:Symbiont, a mobile office for starving architects built into a trailer (or caravan as they call them in Europe).
Rental prices for studio spaces are rising uncontrolled, the creative industries face increasingly unstable working conditions, flexible working models, short-term contracts, precarious payments.Despite this, or maybe just because of this, many creatives are more and more aspiring to a dream of autonomy. Without a stable income it is often impossible to rent an office space for the long term. We need to explore new fields of action: future architecture means city-hacking.
They not only did this economical conversion of a trailer using inexpensive industrial shelving, but they developed a guide showing where free resources like toilets and WiFi could be found in Berlin. They read “between the lines” of laws and parking regulations to figure out where it could be parked. They got social, creating a meeting place, for exchange of ideas. And they go where the jobs are: “Always in movement, the architect’s workspace and field of work merge on site.”
Years ago there was a thing called wardialing, which Matthew Broderick did in the movie War Games, where one dialed phones until you found a modem to connect into. Then when WiFi was new, there came wardriving, searching for open unprotected WiFi sources and mapping them. Perhaps this could be the start of something new, war-working, a mobile version of co-working where vans, caravans and trailers search out that sweet spot where one can have parking, wifi, washrooms and a good espresso for enough time to crank out a few window details. Sounds like something Guerrilla Architects would do, City hacking at its best.
And if you want to build your own, here are the plans: