Transformable mobile tiny house designs for the urban nomad: Truck-A-Tecture

Aero-Mobile tiny house
© Kaneko

Tiny houses are captivating to many of us, perhaps in part because our homes are too big, or because we own too much stuff, or because we'd love to find a more affordable dwelling that would also better fit our green lifestyle.

There's no shortage of tiny house designs, ranging from scaled-down versions of a traditional house to the outlandish and unfeasible, and most of them are conceived with the intent that the homes would remain stationary. However, mobile tiny homes, such as those built onto trailers, are also gaining in popularity, due to their ability to go where we go, which is right in line with the current trend of a more nomadic lifestyle, in which we aren't tethered to a specific location, but instead move to where the next job or opportunity takes us.

With that in mind, the entries for an exhibition recently held at Kaneko, in Omaha, Nebraska, may be a harbinger of things to come in the future of architecture for the urban nomad, as each of the designs aims to be not only versatile and comfortable to live in, but also truly portable.

The Truck-A-Tecture exhibition, which is said to "examine architecture as redefined by mobility and technical expansion," featured full-sized versions of tiny house designs that can carried on or in a vehicle, or built into one, offering a new perspective on modern mobile housing.

The Aero-Mobile (top photo), designed by Jennifer Siegal, of Office for Mobile Design, integrates a tent-like dwelling on top of a tiny truck with a scissor lift on the back, which lifts the expandable structure above the truck cab before it unfolds. Two of the walls extend outward, increasing the usable space inside the tiny house, and the design uses fabric stretched over a metal to form the living structure.

The PNEUMAD, from Min | Day, takes a different approach, with an inflatable geometric structure that can be collapsed into a very small trailer, yet is big enough to serve as a tiny house when fully deployed. For those who don't want to have to haul a full-sized tiny dwelling behind them, this expandable design could be just the ticket for life on the road.

The Self-Lifting Mobility Project, from Mark Mack, is another twist on an expandable dwelling built onto a trailer, and it also uses a scissor lift to position the tent-like sleeping area above the trailer. Built-in cabinets take care of storage needs, and a shade canopy covers an area to the rear of the unit, essentially expanding the usable outdoor space for the residents.

The last entry of the exhibition was the Mobile Dwelling Support Structure (MDSS), from Jones Partners, which includes elements that the other entries seem to ignore, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and solar panels for electricity, all of which are necessary for leading any sort of 'normal' daily life. Each element, other than the solar panels, is an individual module on the trailer, which doesn't seem to include a roof (although the solar panels appear to be able to be positioned to shade the trailer.)

None of these designs is available for purchase (although interested individuals can certainly inquire about that from the design firms), and except for the MDSS, none of the entries to the Truck-A-Tecture exhibition take into account the need for kitchen and bathroom space or an energy source. However, each of them does show a different perspective on what a truly mobile tiny house could be, and could serve as inspiration for the future of nomadic dwellings.

Transformable mobile tiny house designs for the urban nomad: Truck-A-Tecture
A unique exhibition showcases four full-sized transformable tiny home structures that redefine the mobile home for the nomadic generation.

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