Geometric 154 sq. ft. office-on-wheels is built with reclaimed materials

Stephen Schauer
© Stephen Schauer

This portable workspace prototype can move whenever needed.

Backyard shed offices can get pretty wild, be they permit-free modern prefabs, or eccentric structures clad in recycled brooms or tires.

Conceived as prototypical "micro-building designed and built like a piece of furniture," Los Angeles-based design firm Knowhow Shop's Lighthouse is a geometric office pod that measures 154 square feet (14 square metres), yet is designed in a way that it feels spacious enough to accommodate up to four people working inside.

Designers Justin Rice and Kagan Taylor, who built the structure themselves, say that they approached the project in the interest of pushing the design envelope a bit:

Typical details and assemblies were discarded in favor of new methods of construction from the ground up. The result is a project designed to test our craft in materials and our perceptions of space. From a door with no right angles, to a custom made skylight that marries traditional boatbuilding materials with details borrowed from a car sunroof, to shop fabricated and mitered SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) joined with film industry hardware.

One enters through a custom-made, pivoting door into a space that's naturally well-lit, thanks to the openable skylight and window. There is a long, U-shaped desk running along three sides of the interior for workspaces and equipment, as well as plenty of shelving and storage.

Seen from above, the Lighthouse nestles into one corner of its site. However, it is mobile as it rests on industrial-grade caster wheels -- typically used for dumpster bins -- so that it can be easily rolled around the firm's small shop yard in order to make room for ongoing project and material deliveries. To facilitate its free movement, the Lighthouse has been intentionally built with lightweight, prefabricated and recycled materials wherever possible, thus also minimizing its environmental impact. Nevertheless, from the hand-milled flooring to the reclaimed Douglas fir woodwork, no effort was spared in creating this structure, which not only functions as the firm's office, but also as a project that showcases their design and woodworking skills.

Nephew LA© Nephew LA

In total, the firm estimates that the Lighthouse cost USD $50,000 to build, including labour and materials. They are now working to develop a two-room version of the Lighthouse, and refining a commercially available prefab version that could be assembled within a day. To see more, visit Knowhow Shop, Instagram and Twitter.

Geometric 154 sq. ft. office-on-wheels is built with reclaimed materials
This portable workspace prototype can move whenever needed.

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