Portable Eco-Housing On The Way Up
A far cry from the cookie-cutter suburban home is Brazilian designer Felipe Campolina’s Ecobitat, a modular green miracle that builds up rather than tearing down.
As the 2nd place finisher in the Something Green Challenge, Felipe knows what he’s about. He’s designed a number of forward-thinking residences, but none reach quite so high as his Ecobitat.
Campolina’s mobile homes are small rectangular structures that can be transported on the back of trucks as necessary – measuring only 17square meters when “collapsed”. Once they are at their intended location, they can then be expanded to nearly double that at 32 square meters. Each unit contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen area and living space, and features plant-covered outside walls with solar panels lining the roof.
Make no mistake, these are not luxury condos with a bedroom the size of a football field, but instead compact and efficient affairs. They focus on function over form, and eco-friendliness over aggressive agricultural indifference.
The units have a steel frame overlaid with oriented strand board (OSB) panels which allow for an easy increase or decrease in size, and also include tempered glass windows.
If all this sounds fairly heavy-duty for a ground level compact condo, then it’s a good thing that Campolina doesn’t intend them to fly so low.
In his eco-tower concept, the Ecobitat would be transported by truck to a building which would resemble nothing so much as a hollow metal frame. It would then be loaded up onto a house lift that would raise it along the outside edge of the tower to the desired floor.
Once there, the lithe living space would be slid in toward the center spoke of the tower, and then outward to a central pivot, where it would be locked in place. The unit could then be expanded and rotated, offering a view of the city skyline. Between the condos on each floor would run a walkway (doubling as the new-house highway, so watch your step) leading to a stairway and elevator. The tower itself would contain a very small geographical footprint, allowing it to be placed in dense urban centers, and making it perfect for a city that simply doesn’t want to expand outward any longer.
There are number of obvious concerns – the original designs call for an outside wall that doubles as a patio surface when flipped down –dangerous if the locking mechanism comes loose or you decide to play tackle football in the living room. Similarly, the combination of OSB, pivot points and completely independent structures on a central axis seems dangerous should a massive storm or earthquake hit.
Even with the vaunted strength of the OSB, we’re having visions of a grossly fat, grossly rich man purchasing the top spot in one of these towers and then comically crashing through the roof and floor of eachunit.
“Oh hi, sorry about the inconvenience.”
“That noise upstairs? That was me. Sorry.”
“Someday, you’ll look back on this and laugh.”
Granted, that probably wouldn’t happen, but an ounce of preparation is often worth a pound of cure. Or several, all eaten by our smashing stomach stuffer. Tastes great!
In any case…
This is a great concept for the future of condo design. Not only is it eco-friendly and clever as all get out, but it combines the ability to both love your home, but get the hell away from people you don’t like all that much.
Don’t like your neighbors? Move, and take your house with you.