Urban mobility, and transient living take on a new life with the introduction of Tricycle-Houses in Beijing. They can be likened to a caravan or mobile home, though also a human-powered chariot, as citizens, it seems, are able to take official residence within their tricycle-house, while moving freely about the city.
This comes as a necessity, in a country where owning a home is becoming nearly impossible as the cost of land ownership continues to rise and space is increasingly becoming a rare luxury.
Appearances aside, tricycle-houses are equipped with enough ‘tricks’ and stow-able amenities to make living off the grid efficient and interesting.
The translucence of the fluted plastic cabin allows the occupants to utilize the sunlight during the peak hours of the day, as well as the illumination of the city’s streetlamps at night. This also creates enough transparency to inspire the feeling of openness in an otherwise cramped space; yet it does so without diminishing your sense of privacy.
All of the furniture is convertible, so the interior is ever-changing.
What serves as a single bed for a night’s slumber becomes a bench and table for a morning of introspection over a hot cup of tea or coffee. Additionally, amenities, including a sink, bath, and stove, are integrated. Also convenient are the adaptable storage spaces, which function as nooks for clothes, linens, books, and dishware – their tops serving as shelves.
The cabin units, thanks to their modular design, can extend and attach to one another, creating diverse arrangements to meet the current needs of the owner. Some tricycles are even hitched to portable ‘gardens’, creating a mobile yard where you can veg out amidst the vast built environment or use to grow your own herbs and produce. Fellow house-cyclists may even congregate to create a community of tricycle-houses and green spaces.
One concern does arise in the question of whether you would feel safe leaving your home, unattended. Or if you would feel obliged to shuttle it around wherever the day took you. Otherwise, aside from the occasional stares of curiosity you’d likely ensue, tricycle-houses appear as an interesting solution to the dilemma of affordable and efficient living amongst the growing density of modern cities.
If nothing else, it grants you the experience of waking to a different neighborhood as often as your desire and mobility allows.
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