April 2, 2009 For anyone who has wanted to get away from it all without leaving the comforts of home Dutch design group N55 has just the thing – a walking house. Consisting of a basic module measuring 3.5m high by 3.5m wide and 3.72m long the walking house can cover a decidedly leisurely 60m an hour on its six insect like legs.

Each of the unit’s six legs works as an autonomous unit with its own accumulators and linear actuators. When it walks three legs are always on the ground to provide the necessary stability on all sorts of terrain. The designers say the house was constructed to move at a pace similar to human speed because, ‘walking often helps a person concentrate their thoughts and creates a mental state that enforces mobility of the mind,’ which suggests that anyone feeling stressed could benefit from getting out and taking the house for a walk.

Equipped with the basic systems for maintaining everyday life for a maximum of four persons, the house could easily be scaled up for larger family structures. Furniture is an integrated part of the structure and the module can be constructed from numerous materials. It is based on a framework made of steel, aluminum or wood and can be covered with steel, aluminum, wood or even semi- permeable textiles. Windows are made of polycarbonate and insulation could be anything from thin plates of Polyethylene to wool while the rear of the modules opens up to form a stair that functions as an entrance. The modular design means that several Walking Houses can even be added together to form a ‘Walking Village’ for transient workers.

For the environmentally conscious moving house dweller the Walking House also features solar panels and micro windmills to collect energy and there is a system for collecting rain water as well as a system for solar heated hot water. A small greenhouse unit can be added to the basic living module, to provide a substantial part of the food needed by the inhabitants and a composting toilet system allows sewage to be disposed of. The designers say a small wood burning stove could be also added to provide CO2 neutral heating.

It also sounds like the designers are looking to start a revolution challenging the concept of land ownership. According to their website manifesto: ‘The Walking House requires no permanent use of land and thereby challenges ownership of land and suggests that all land should be accessible for all persons. Society could administrate rights to use land for various forms of production of food for example, but ownership of land should be abolished.” They go on to say that ‘Walking Houses should be owned by all persons in common and used by the persons wanting to live in them.” Long live the revolution!

Anyone who thinks that the designers are a bit wacky and need to get out and take their house for a walk should check out the video below of the Walking House taking its first baby steps. Who said the wheel was one of mankind’s greatest inventions?

Darren Quick


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