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Mobile Architecture

3 min reading time

Mobile architecture is here today, gone tomorrow. Conceptual architecture is often in a state of constant motion, or it is only erected for a brief period of time. Whether it’s driving supermarkets, portable pavilions or temporary theatres – here are seven projects that are anything but static.

London: the Pool Kiosk

It’s not true that the sky is always grey in London. Why else would artist Jeppe Hein make his water fountains? Their unique purpose is to shoot out from the ground when passers-by least expect it and give them a little unexpected refresher. The installation is complemented by a mobile shop that resembles a pool. According to the builders from How About Studio, the kiosk doesn’t sell any French fries, but rather pool accessories and sun block.

Kiruna: the Sauna Egg

The ground beneath the Swedish city Kiruna has become very unstable as a result of ore mining and citizens had to be relocated. At the new location, the artist team Bigert & Bergström built a golden egg with a mobile sauna inside. According to Swedish tradition, saunas are seen as a social meeting place. The egg of Kiruna is therefore a sign of new beginnings that invites people to get closer together – literally.

Zurich: the Pavilion of Reflections

At the 11th edition of Manifesta – one of the world’s most important Biennials for modern art – the “Pavilion of Reflections” was built on Lake Zurich near Bellevue Square as a key exhibition venue. This floating island, designed by Studio Tom Emerson, has an open-air cinema and an integrated pool. Despite being a temporary structure, it was considered a major city landmark.

Amsterdam: the Campfire Pavilion

When Amsterdam served as Host to the European Union, thousands of politicians discussed the future of Europe – in sterile rooms with bright artificial lights. To offer an alternative, Studioinedots set a campfire in the temporary Campus FabCity, and built a movable pavilion out of waste-based bricks around it. Named the “True Talker”, people were invited to enter, take a seat, and discuss ideas, thoughts and stories about Europe by the light of the campfire.

Shanghai: the Self-driving Supermarket

A trip to the supermarket has never been so short, at least in Shanghai. There, Wheelys created a supermarket on wheels called “Moby”. The moveable building comes to the people and not the other way around. The prototype is still being monitored, but once it completes testing, the rolling shopping paradise will make its way through the city autonomously. Using an app, customers can find out Moby’s current location and pay for fresh produce, magazines and even sneakers.

Grisons: A tower to beat Babel

Although the Tower of Babel was built long ago, it still fascinates Giovanni Netzer, the founder of the Origen Festival Cultural theatre. Netzer discovered the perfect location to build a replica of the mythical tower: the Julier Pass at an altitude of 2,284 metres. According to Netzer, the pass both separates and connects different linguistic regions, and reflects the mythology and cultural reality of the Swiss canton Grisons. The red tower contains a theatre with a Babylonian focus: it is international and also highlights the location.

Mechelen: work-life balance in an egg

Work, sleep, live – anywhere you are. It’s a vision that is becoming reality in  the VB3 blob, a futuristic design of Belgium-based dmVA Architects. Inside this mobile piece of architecture, one finds all the necessities of life: kitchen, shower, bed and more. Everything is hidden away in compartments that surround the curved walls without intruding into the relaxing round interior.

INSPIRED BY THE FUTURE. BUILT FOR THE PRESENT.

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