Simon Brandon visits a contraption that puts a new spin on the mobile home
How can we reduce the upheaval of moving house? The unlikely answer is squatting in a field near Cambridge. The walking house, designed by Danish art collective N55, is on show at the Wysing Arts Centre until it presumably wanders off on 30 November.
‘It’s about mobility, a balance between the nomadic and settled life, finding another pace, [and] a more sound way of consuming,’ N55 member Ion Sørvin explains.
It was following a separate collaboration with Cambridgeshire Traveller communities in 2007 that Mr Sørvin was inspired to update the nomadic lifestyle by endowing it with the lowest possible environmental impact.
Ramblers are often implored to ‘leave only footsteps’, and the walking house does just that.
Its legs are powered by solar panels on the roof and it can walk at around the same pace as a human.
N55 conceived it as a modular system, with several hexagons stacked together to create moving villages. But with its sleek black body, yellow feet and triangular windows, it looks more like a prop from an old episode of Doctor Who than a mobile home.
Inside, it’s cosy. ‘I went to museums and studied traditional Roma caravans,’ says Mr Sørvin, who was interested in the way occupants used the limited space to greatest effect.
Inside the walking house there is a raised bed at one end, a tiny kitchen and composting toilet at the other, and a traditional wood-burning stove in the middle.
Mr Sørvin plans to live in the house when it returns to Copenhagen at the end of the month. Anyone inspired to do likewise can find full plans online from which to build their own.