It is not clear where and when the wheel was invented, but according to American anthropologist David Anthony, author of a book on the history of the wheel, there is a series of archaeological evidence of wheeled vehicles dating from 3400 BC in Eurasia and the Middle East. Since its creation, the wheel has revolutionized the way human beings handle many activities, especially moving around.
In architecture, a field closely related to occupying spaces with strong and mostly permanent constructions, wheels may at first seem to be somewhat out of place. However, due to the increased popularity of small scale houses, which concentrate the many functions of a residence in minimal spaces, a new possibility for architecture is emerging: locomotion.
Tiny houses, when designed on wheels, resemble the concept of trailers or recreational vehicles, but the main difference between them is in their primary function. While trailers are vehicles equipped with the amenities of a residence, wheeled houses are homes equipped with tools that enable their mobility.
As these small-scale houses are usually located in rural or suburban areas, replacing foundations with wheels turns out to be an advantage in adapting and adjusting to different contexts. This adaptability results in a reduction of environmental impact —especially since there is no need for drilling or earthwork— and provides significant self-sufficiency to the house.
The following four projects benefit from the flexibility, functionality, and mobility provided by the use of wheels instead of foundations in small scale houses. Check them out:
Tricycle House and Tricycle Garden / People's Architecture Office (PAO) + People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO)
The Tricycle House and Tricycle Garden were designed to address the theme of the 2012 Get It Louder Exhibition. The inability to own land is a fundamental condition in China unique from many western countries. The Tricycle House suggests a future where the temporary relationship and the public nature between people and the land they occupy are embraced. The Tricycle House is also an experiment with folded plastic as a construction method. Using a CNC router each piece of the house is cut and scored flat and then folded and welded into shape.
CABN was set up to design a project to help people disconnect from a world based on consumerism and the tyranny of online lives. Resulting in completely off-grid, sustainable, and eco-friendly tiny houses set in some of South Australia’s most stunning and stimulating landscapes.
The Rolling Huts are several steps above camping while remaining low-tech and low-impact in their design. The owner purchased the site, formerly an RV campground, with the aim of allowing the landscape to return to its natural state. The wheels lift the structures above the meadow, providing an unobstructed view into nature and the prospect of the surrounding mountains.
A young family's limited budget and desire to build by the seaside in a less invasive manner were the reasons why they opted for building the 9 square meters retreat on wheels. Also, the restrictions defying the sizes of a vehicle that could freely go on the roads determined the size of this tiny home.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Tiny. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics here. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.