Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move (Hardcover)

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A Review of Mobitecture: Architecture On The Move by Rebecca Roke

Reviewed by Mark Billingsley

There is a new movement, with literally prehistoric roots, that is exploding and expanding in popular culture, lifestyle, art and architecture that is, paradoxically, about reducing, compressing and simplifying the objects of its interest. It is known most popularly as the "tiny (or small) house" movement.  This architectural discipline was, of course, invented by our remote ancestors when it became clear that the supply of habitable beachfront caves was not going to be able to house all the children, grandchildren, grandparents and in-laws that were looking for some place warm and dry to sleep, work, and create. They knew even then that something would have to be done...
Some of the housing that was created after this realization was stationary to allow folks to stay near kith and kin and capitalize on local knowledge, but a lot of it was mobile, with the means to exploit geographical and ecological advantages where available, with the capability to move on when necessary. Ms Roke's first remarkable book, "Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things", contains many thought-provoking creations of the former type, while this excellent book concerns itself exclusively with the latter.

Every single page of Ms Roke's composition features a captivating, intriguing piece of mobitectural design. Many are ultra-practical and utilitarian and there are several that are more conceptual and artistic, most are "all of the above". There are mobitectural domiciles made of practically every natural and man-made material imaginable. A large number of them are constructed from either recycled or easily obtainable materials, some are made of exotic and extremely expensive composites, most are either hand-made or factory-constructed in small batches. All of them are carefully thought out, beautifully executed and craftily artistic. Obviously one could go on and on highlighting the different styles, materials and aesthetics, however Ms Roke's book is 300 pages of distinctly.different mobitectural designs and creations and even she was capable of only just starting the conversation, but magnificently so.

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of the quandary that bedeviled our earliest domicile-dwelling ancestors; a lot of people and dwindling space for them to inhabit, but of course, on a global scale. We are fast running out frontiers, at least in the geographical sense. Ms Roke demonstrates that estimable frontiers still exist but they exist in the yet undiscovered territories where imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness merge. The landscape has changed so dramatically that many of the young people coming of age today neither believe they that they will be able to own their own home in the traditional sense, nor do they necessarily care. They read books like ""Mobitecture", follow social media sites like #VanLife, research websites like "" and dream of having their own small, cozy home that they can take with them out into the world of their adventures. It should also be noted that these dreams are not just for the young and talented, those of who are older and still relatively moss-free are also very interested this new frontier. (We did, after all, excel in exploiting the Volkswagen Campmobile, the Airstream, and the truck camper to their fullest.) In that sense "Mobitecture" is a multi-generational composition that will inspire and appeal to anyone who loves brilliant architecture, iconoclastic design, thoughtful inventiveness, and, always, the ability to stay mobile. 

Mark Billingsley

— Mark Billingsley


Mobile architecture in all its wonderful variety - a lively collection of mobile, portable, and movable structures of all kinds

Celebrate mobile architecture in all its forms with this visual ode to life on the move. Ranging from quirky to sensible and from rustic to deluxe, featured projects include houseboats, huts, and tricked-out caravans, alongside disaster shelters, wearable structures, and futuristic prototypes. This compactly designed package features more than 250 colour photographs and a smart, engaging layout that will appeal to anyone who appreciates the power of good design.

About the Author

Rebecca Roke writes about architecture and design, drawing on her architectural background and extensive experience editing and researching in that field. Rebecca was previously editor of Monument magazine in Australia and for Foster + Partners in London. She is the author of Nanotecture, also published by Phaidon.

Praise For…

"These gorgeous trailers, campers, and tents offer a way to escape modern life for the open road... Many of the mobile homes featured in the book are... enough to make you want to stop paying rent and truly hit the road." —Co.Design

"Small, smartly organized and highly portable, "Mobitecture" is one of those rare books in which the design perfectly mirrors the content... the perfect book for fantasizing about epic road trips, backwoods adventures and off-grid forays into the great unknown." —Mother Nature Network

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

"Inspiring, well thought-out, innovative, useful, or simply outrageous looking constructions... [A] contagious visual ode to life on the move." —Damn

"Portable structures are really going places... Some designs offer affordable solutions in cities where living costs are sky-high... Others, though, are just plain bonkers." —Conde Nast Traveller

"Creative and clever architectural design. These mobile abodes roll, trundle, stretch, pop up, and float." —Daily Telegraph, Ultra Travel

"Incredible images...Mobitecture: Architecture on the Move celebrates some of the craziest and most unique mobile homes ever invented." —

"Home on the road takes on a whole new meaning in Rebecca Roke's new book Mobitecture, featuring some incredible portable structures... Fun, surprising and ingenious... Also reflects the sometimes-trying circumstances, for example war or homelessness, that requires people to be creative with how they keep a roof over their head." —

"[An] excellent book... Every single page [...] features a captivating, intriguing piece of mobitectural design." —Aspen Daily News Online

"[Th]ematically explores mobile forms of architecture - some strange, some practical, and some out of this world... [An] all encompassing collection." —Metropolis

"Tempted by the heady idea of life on the open road but find mobile homes hopelessly clichéd? Order this just-released book, by Rebecca Roke, tout de suite."—The Wall Street Journal

"Visually compelling... Its powerful introduction sets the stage for understanding the urgency for these projects that demand nuanced creativity and technical savvy... An exceptional exercise in envisioning architecture's unavoidable challenges. Ideal for architects, entrepreneurs, designers and futurists."—Identity Magazine (Dubai)

"Mobile architecture designs that will blow your mind."—Ecophiles

"The array of designs selected by Roke demonstrates the strong social value architecture can have, in the form of homeless shelters or new places of refuge created to tackle climate change."—Abitare (Italy)

"It's both a paean to traveling light and an eye-catching look at all the ways a dwelling can move."—Atlas Obscura

"Tempted by the heady idea of life on the open road but find mobile homes hopelessly clichéd? Order this just-released book, by Rebecca Roke, tout de suite."—The Wall Street Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9780714873497
ISBN-10: 0714873497
Publisher: Phaidon Press
Publication Date: April 17th, 2017
Pages: 320
Language: English

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