The idea of living life on the road in an RV can be appealing. Unfortunately, most RV’s aren’t very environmentally friendly, nor are they self-sufficient. However, the Tricycle House isn’t like most RV’s, as it relies on pedal power to move between destinations, and boasts several pieces of clever folding furniture to provide those much-needed home comforts.
Conceived by architectural firm People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) for 2012’s “Get It Louder” Exhibition in Beijing, the Tricycle House addresses the fact that private ownership of land is not permitted in China. The pedal-powered RV envisions a future in which individual Chinese people are able to more fully connect with their land, while living simply and sustainably, on their own terms.
The Tardis-like house structure is affixed to a tricycle and constructed from polypropylene (a thermoplastic polymer). The polypropylene is cut with a CNC router, before being folded and welded into shape, retaining its strength but gaining a certain degree of flexibility. This allows the Tricycle House to open like an accordion, and offer modern amenities like a bath, bed, and water tank. It can even attach to other Tricycle Houses to increase available space.
The images produced by PIDO impart a real sense of the attention to detail which has been accomplished, with an ingenious series of drawers, shelves and fold-away cupboards all packed into the miniature mobile home. A dining table converts into a bed, and the sink, stove, and bath all collapse into the front wall – each inch of space is utilized.
There’s no electricity on-board, so the only lighting which will be on offer for residents of the Tricycle House is that which seeps through the translucent polypropylene building material. The finer details of exactly how a bath and stove would work safely aren’t expanded upon by the designers.
In addition to the Tricycle House, PIDO also fabricated a smaller Tricycle Garden companion vehicle (pictured above), giving each Tricycle House resident their own piece of portable land. PIDO further imagines multiple Tricycle Homes and Tricycle Gardens coming together to form a veritable mobile caravan community.
Admittedly, the Tricycle House isn’t the only pedal-powered RV to be created, and one can't help but reel off a mental list of questions concerning the efficacy of PIDO's vision when taking in the impressive features. Despite these caveats, the Tricycle House does offer a very thought-provoking concept of sustainable nomadic living, which also asks questions of current Chinese government policy regarding land ownership.
As of writing, we’ve heard no word on plans to bring the House Tricycle to market.