Mobitecture: More than a passing trend

It's been described as ecological, iconic and bizarre, but the latest architectural movement also does exactly what it says on the tin

From tents constructed in the deserts of north Africa by the Bedouins to the now-trendy yurts first used by nomads in central Asia, the concept of a home that can be taken with you from place to place is not a new one.

And as the world faces challenges with mass migration, housing shortages, rising living costs and ever-squeezed urban spaces, the idea of mobile architecture seems more relevant than ever.

Whether addressing these fundamental issues or simply facilitating the natural human desire to roam and explore new horizons, designers are continuing to look for creative and flexible solutions.

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As Mobitecture, a comprehensive new tome, is released, we take a look at three of our favourite portable structures.

Antiroom II

Stationed off the coast of Malta and accessible only by swimming or by boat, Antiroom II is a man-made floating island that defines a small inner pool against the sea surrounding it. Built by Elena Chiavi, Ahmad El Mad and Matteo Goldoni with assistance from students who took part in the 2015 European Architecture Students Assembly, the circular timber structure is constructed from 28 segments that create the impression of a columned stoa - a covered walkway or portico – adorned with curtains that move with the wind.

(Image credit: DALiM)

8rad² Solar

Cargo bikes may be a common sight on many city streets, but German designer Nico Jungel wanted to push the limits on this environmentally friendly form of transport. The timber-framed vehicle is carried on eight wheels, powered by two drivers who pedal and steer from the front. If they run out of steam, it has a backup motor – solar-powered, of course.

(Image credit: DALiM)

Bicycle teardrop trailer

The teardrop trailer may have all but disappeared from modern-day camping, but the distinctive early-20th-century design has an enduring retro appeal, in spite of its impracticalities. More accustomed to building boats than structures on land, Matthew Hart revived the design for this lightweight and aerodynamic dwelling that accompanied him as he cycled across British Columbia in his native Canada. Into the compact compartment, he squeezed a sleeping space, folding table, fridge and a cooker just big enough to brew a cup of coffee.

Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move by Rebecca Roke is published by Phaidon, £14.95;

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