Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move

Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move is a unique compendium that celebrates mobile architecture in all its forms. A visual ode to life on the move, and comprehensive in both its breadth and range, this publication explores mobile structures ranging from quirky to sensible and from rustic to deluxe. Encompassing architectural designs that roll, inflate, unfold, pop-up, slide on sleds and float across water, Mobitecture brings together a spectacular collection of structures in which we can revel, live, work or pause. With over 250 images and a smart, engaging layout, this compact book will appeal to anyone who appreciates the power of good design.

Mobitecture does not limit its scope to iconic typologies, such as tents and caravans, but alternatively offers an enormous range of mobile structures designed for deserts, oceans, beaches, mountains and cities, all of which highlight a union between art and mobility. Capturing the spirit of invention and ingenuity, each ‘mobitecture’ suggests the latent promise of freedom from everyday routines and obligations. As evidenced by the perennial appeal of retro campers, Airstream trailers, the international craze for ‘glamping’ and so forth, the enduring charm of mobile architecture is both global and decades old.

While certain projects embrace a freedom to experiment with materials, sizes, colours, and design concepts, others more poignantly shed light on the importance for designing mobile structures. Mobitecture includes designs that help refugees fleeing conflict zones; economic migrants hoping to make a better life elsewhere; environmental migration due to natural disasters, and homelessness. From Winfried Baumann’s Portable Housing Space to Architecture Global Aid’s Origami Paper House and Angela Luna’s Tent 2, ‘mobitecture’ can offer functional, life-saving answers to urgent needs for shelter. This year’s Beazley Design of the Year award, which partners with London’s Design Museum, emphasised the increasing need for mobile structures after awarding the Ikea Foundation and the UN’s Refugee Agency’s flat-packed refugee shelter with first prize.

Arranged in eight chapters – Human, No Wheels, One & Two Wheels, Three Wheels, Four Wheels, 5+ Wheels, Sleds+ and Water – according to the project’s primary means of mobility, Mobitecture can be read either as singular case studies or cover-to-cover. Every project includes details of the structure’s name; the architect, designer, artist or maker; the country of origin, and its completion date. Furthermore, additional information in the form of symbols can be found by each ‘mobitecture’, which outlines the number of people the project can accommodate, the means of mobility, and the principal material palette from which the structure was built. An informative ‘Key to Mobility Icons’ is also included at the beginning of the book.

Following in the footsteps of an earlier bestselling title, Nanotecture also by Rebecca Roke, Mobitecture includes a surprising, inspiring array of forms, materials, colours, sizes and locations. With a dash of whit and whimsy, this exquisite book provides an engaging visual reference for architects, designers, and anyone who loves to live and travel in style.

Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move
By Rebecca Roke
Published by Phaidon 17 April 2017 (£14.95)