February 27, 2009 Known as the Sliding House, this unique piece of architectural lateral thinking was designed by London-based practice de Rijke Marsh Morgan. The brief was for a self-build house where the client could grow food, entertain, enjoy the landscape and basically retire in peace. The outcome was three buildings arranged along a longitudinal axis, with a garage set perpendicularly, off to the side to create a small patio... and one hell of a surprise.

The Surprise

Well, the name does kind of give it away. What appears to be the house’s exterior walls and roof is actually a second skin that slides across a longitudinal axis to reveal a second facade. Sliding back and forth, the mobile exterior offers the house’s residents flexibility with the look and behavior of the building. The lighting and mood of the interior spaces can be altered with the simple movement of the exterior, creating combinations of enclosure, open-air living and framing of views according to position. The building’s architectural flexibility also provides a means to control the buildings heating and cooling, according to the position of the sliding exterior.


The 20 ton house will traverse the entire site in only 6 minutes, with movement powered by hidden electric motors and wheels integrated into the wall thickness. The tracks for the outer wall have the option of being extended should the client wish to build a swimming pool, which may need occasional shelter. The entire house sits on a concrete bed, which partially hides the mechanism that allows the home to reveal a second facade.

We think it's an absolute delight.

David Greig

For more information view the video from dRMM Architects.

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