13 unusual mobile homes and hideaways

Movable egg-shaped huts on a beach in South Korea were popular with readers this week, so we've collected together 13 strange and beautiful examples of mobile residences, refuges and retreats from the pages of Dezeen – including a tiny house delivered via helicopter.


Casa Transportable ÁPH80 by Ábaton

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This micro house in the Spanish countryside might look permanent, but is actually designed to be hoisted onto the back of a truck. With elements prefabricated over a six week period, the structure can be assembled in just one day.

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Grey cement board panels cover the two-person home, but some have hinges allowing the wall to open and reveal sliding glass doors and windows. Inside, the three living spaces – including a bathroom at one end and a bedroom at the other – are lined in Spanish fir wood. Find out more about this project »


Micro House in Tsinghua by Studio Liu Lubin

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Made from fibre-reinforced foam, the three cross-shaped modules that form this tiny house in Beijing are light enough to be lifted and rotated by their inhabitants, changing the function of the spaces inside.

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Chinese architect Liu Lubin created the modules to fit neatly into shipping containers so they can be transported to different locations, as well as being small enough to bypass current restrictions governing private homes in China. Find out more about this project »


Bao House by dot Architects

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Chinese studio dot Architects designed this tiny quilted cube house to sleep three people, after being asked to design a mobile living space that is human-powered for an exhibition in 2012.

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The facade may look like it is made from padded fabric, but the two-metre-wide structure is actually formed from spray polyurethane foam (SPF) making it light enough to be pulled along on the back of a tricycle. Find out more about this project »


Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

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How do you design a holiday home on a coastline that is constantly changing due to erosion? Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects' solution for this house on the northern coast of New Zealand was to put the entire structure on a sled that allows it to be towed out of harm's way.

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Shutters in the timber slat walls of the hut, which is used by a family of five, lift up to reveal and shade a two-storey glazed facade as well as windows at the sides. The children sleep in a three-tiered bunk bed at the back, while the parents occupy a mezzanine bedroom over the main living space. Find out more about this project »


Famiglia Grande by Kacey Wong

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Based on an earlier project that envisioned creating homeless shelters that looked like robots, but fold out to provide a bed and desk, Hong Kong artist and designer Kacey Wong developed these mobile sleeping cases for rich people who lost their homes in the economic crisis.

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Each case can be wheeled around on a trolley. "My question is how can one live on the street but still maintain a facade of looking good and high style?" said the designer. Find out more about this project »


Micro Compact Home 016 by Richard Horden

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One of a series of tiny homes designed by British architect Richard Horden, this prefabricated guest house on a site overlooking Lake Maggiore in Switzerland was delivered to its site via helicopter.

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Installed in four minutes and nine seconds, the house is made using a lightweight aluminium frame and accommodates both a double bed and a dining table for eight people. Find out more about this project »


Denizen Sauna by Denizen Works + Friends

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After 12 years of trying to get permission to turn a disused boat shed into a sauna, the owner of this small wooden building on a Finnish island was finally given permission to build – provided the structure was mobile.

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London architects Denizen Works + Friends designed the timber sauna to sit on runners, so when the waters it sits by freeze in the winter it can be towed across like a sledge to find the right spot for a plunge pool. Find out more about this project »


Sleepbox 01 by Arch Group

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Russian architects Arch Group developed the Sleepbox concept to provide tiny movable hotel rooms that could be used for napping at airports, train stations and shopping centres.

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This ash-veneered MDF Sleepbox at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport was their first built example, and could be rented for between 30 minutes and several hours. It contained a double bed as well as LED reading lamps and sockets for charging laptops and mobile phones. Its success led to a series of further projects – including an entire hotel of the units. Find out more about this project »


Vostok Cabin by Atelier Van Lieshout

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For home-buyers worried that the end of civilisation really is nigh, Dutch studio Atelier Van Lieshout has created a mobile, indestructible dwelling with an armoured shell made of steel plates reclaimed from boats.

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Inside, the cabin is fitted with two benches, a stove and a toilet. "The Cabin looks like an improvised defense/attack apparatus made by a local blacksmith in order to have a better chance of survival in times of revolution and civil war," said the designers. Find out more about this project »


Fincube by Studio Aisslingera

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Rather than move in one piece, this small fully-glazed mountain living unit in the Dolomites is designed to be taken apart and rebuilt.

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Berlin designer Werner Aisslinger created this mobile house for a spot on the side of a mountain in Ritten, Italy. It's name refers to the wooden louvres that surround the structure, which are made of local timber, as well as its two-square-metre footprint. Find out more about this project »


New Refuge Gervasutti by LEAPfactory

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While most mobile living spaces are for private residents, this one in the Alps provides shelter and a warm place to sleep for climbers that spot it cantilevering over the edge of a mountain.

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The survival unit was designed by Italian architects LEAPfactory, who specialise in modular accommodation for extreme environment, and was lifted into place using helicopters. Find out more about this project »


Hypercubus by WG3

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These modular hotel rooms designed by Austrian architects WG3 house two guests comfortably, and tip up at the front to lift the entrance off the ground.

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The prototype is intended to be used as a pre-paid apartment-style residence at all kinds of outdoor events and locations, as long as these provide some kind of additional infrastructure – each module only has a toilet and sink for guests. Find out more about this project »


Opera by Axel Enthoven

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This mobile holiday home was designed by Belgian architect Axel Enthoven to resemble the iconic roof of the Sydney Opera House.

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Made completely by hand in Geldrop in the Netherlands, the canvas holiday home unfolds from a trailer and includes two beds, a toilet, hot and cold water, LED lighting and a mobile hob. "It is not a tent, not a caravan and not a motor home," said the designer. Find out more about this project »