Introducing The 15-MPH Tiny Dwelling: China’s Tricycle House And Garden
December 28, 2012
The freedom of off-the-grid living can be so tantalizing: no power bill, no lawn to mow, no homeowners’ association. It’s the aesthetics of the whole enterprise that often disappoint. (Let’s just say that proverbial van down by the river is not getting any cuter with each passing day.) Meanwhile, those sleek micro-units and tiny houses can get expensive, and claustrophobic, awfully fast. So if you’re cool with living in something the size of a food cart, why not put it on a bike?
For China’s Get It Louder biennial in Beijing, People’s Architecture Office (PAO) and People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) designed an accordion-like polypropylene mobile house on the back of a tricycle—garden sidecar optional! Read more.
PAO and PIDO’s installation at the 2012 Get It Louder biennial, which was on view in November.
The Tricycle House and Tricycle Garden address the complex nature of home ownership in China, made difficult by the country’s legacy of state-owned land and the high cost of purchasing an apartment. As the collaborators (who cocurated the Architecture, Product Design, and Urbanism section of the biennial) explain, “We defined this year’s theme as ‘The People’s Future’ and approached the design of the exhibition in a way that envisions a more sustainable tomorrow.”
A rendering of a mobile campground with several tricycle dwellings.
The design takes advantage of the durability of polypro, whose strength isn’t compromised by folding. PAO and PIDO used a CNC router to cut out the house and score it; then they just creased the folds and molded it into shape. The house’s bellows-style compression makes biking it around town more convenient but also allows the house to be unfurled when you’re parked. And the design breeds community: multiple tricycle houses opened up together can form a pop-up community space, while yoking several trike gardens yields an insta-park.
For the right kind of light-traveling utopian, adopting this idea stateside could turn micro-living into a more social experience—just as long as those bike lanes keep getting wider.
The plastic construction lets light through at all times, keeping the interior lit with sunlight or the glow of streetlamps at night.
Inside, the furniture converts from a bed (above) to a bench, dining table, and countertop (below right). The stove, sink, and bathtub all fold away into the front wall of the house.
All images courtesy of People’s Architecture Office and People’s Industrial Design Office.