Rebecca Roke’s unique book Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move celebrates mobile architecture in all its forms. It includes the most imaginative and quirky architectural designs that will make you marvel at the creativity – architecture that rolls, inflates, unfolds, pops-up, and floats across water. The book offers an enormous range of mobile architecture designed for deserts, oceans, beaches, mountains and cities and even for surviving life on Mars!
We’ve rounded up the best of the witty and whimsy examples of architecture we loved in this selection of quirky mobile architecture!

World’s most unusual mobile architecture:

Camper Bike

Powered by pedal, and large enough for one, the Camper Bike by artist Kevin Cyr is a delightful and intruiging mobile dwelling. The slim-line, time-worn camper contrasts with the ostentation and size of many contemporary RVs. Cyr, instead, embraces the signs of age; the rust, scratches and dents. The Camper Bike is formed from a tall, narrow shell mounted on a standard-issue Chinese tricycle. Now part of the Oxylane Art Foundation collection, the Camper Bike is more concept than camper – an artwork that comments on the differences between American and Chinese culture, where in the former people drive enormous vehicles and in the latter carry heavy loads on bikes.

Camper Bike, Kevin Cyr, USA, 2008. Tricycle, corrugated aluminium, Plexiglas, plywood, timber. Picture credit: Kevin Cyr (page 164)

Camper Bike, Kevin Cyr, USA, 2008. Tricycle, corrugated aluminium, Plexiglas, plywood, timber. Picture credit: Kevin Cyr

Secret Operation 610

Spooky and stealthy in equal measure, Secret Operation 610 is an exercise in research and history. Cultivating the atmosphere of the Cold War and the aesthetics of military weaponry, this flightless vehicle was designed as a mobile research vehicle based at the now decommissioned Soesterberg Air Base. Providing space for up to ten visiting researchers, it travels slowly along the disused runway on caterpillar tracks. From afar, its blackened steel-armoured body, raised four-and-a-half metres (fifteen feet) off the ground with two large, wing-shaped legs, stands in stark contrast to the serene peace-time landscape.

Secret Operation 610, RAAAF, Studio Frank Havermans, The Netherlands, 2013. Steel, glass, caterpillar treads. Picture credit: René de Wit Architectuurfotografie

Secret Operation 610, RAAAF, Studio Frank Havermans, The Netherlands, 2013. Steel, glass, caterpillar treads. Picture credit: René de Wit Architectuurfotografie

One Eye Folly

A folly on ice, this art installation is a strange boat-shed hybrid and part of the ‘Ice Follies’ exhibition on Ontario’s Lake Nipissing. The One Eye Folly amalgam is comprised of a boat hull on a sledge, laden with a cabin of stamped tin tiles that form the textured roof. With two hatch-like windows, oars and an old shed door, the folly includes an aperture that allows light to enter, acting as a camera obscura. Recalling seaside entertainment during the Victorian era, the pinhole camera device reflects the frozen lake surface as well as distant views to other works included in the show.

One Eye Folly, Donald Lawrence, Canada, 2008. Timber, rowboat, plastic, rope, stone, microphones, hydrophone, timber sledge. Picture credit: Donald Lawrence

One Eye Folly, Donald Lawrence, Canada, 2008. Timber, rowboat, plastic, rope, stone, microphones, hydrophone, timber sledge. Picture credit: Donald Lawrence

DesertSeal

Devised to survive extreme arid terrain, the DesertSeal is an inflatable, reflective shell in which users can endure soaring temperatures in comfort. Designed according to the thermodynamics of such environments, where air at upper levels is cooler than that close to the sand, the tapered body includes an intake source at the apex, and an expelling fan at the base, both powered by a flexible band of solar cells. Lightweight and easily transported, its silver skin reflects piercing heat and contains a narrow space for rest, just over one metre (three feet) wide. Though developed on earth, this glistening hybrid might just have the potential to cater to human life on Mars.

DesertSeal, Andreas Vogler, Germany, 2004. Polyethylene-coated fabric, electric fan, solar panel, nylon rope, zipper. Picture credit: Architecture and Vision

DesertSeal, Andreas Vogler, Germany, 2004. Polyethylene-coated fabric, electric fan, solar panel, nylon rope, zipper. Picture credit: Architecture and Vision

Golden Gate 2

An artist and avid surfer, each of Jay Nelson’s mobile dwellings are hand-built, allowing him to learn new processes and ideas with each design. This second incarnation of his series ‘Golden Gate’, for example, is an architectural collage – a place for rest, for thought or for scoping out surf breaks. Built primarily of timber, its rounded form includes carefully located porthole windows, a gull-wing hatch and large windscreens at the front and back. A charming and eyecatching vehicle, Golden Gate 2 provides enough space for a bed, surfboard and the freedom to travel.

Golden Gate 2, Jay Nelson, USA, 2014. Steel framing, timber, plywood, Plexiglas, metal bolts.

Golden Gate 2, Jay Nelson, USA, 2014. Steel framing, timber, plywood, Plexiglas, metal bolts. Picture credit: Dylan Gordan

Get a copy of Rebecca Roke’s fascinating book, Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move, published by Phaidon here.

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