Portable architecture

Document Type



Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Belcher

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Alfredo Andia

Third Advisor's Name

Norman Blandon

Date of Defense



What is the architecture of transience? What role does architecture play in the impermanent context of the nomad? What form does architecture take when our perception of shelter transforms from fixed and static to flexible and transportable? How does architecture react to the challenges of mobility and change? Traditional building forms speak of stability as an important aspect of architecture. Does portability imply a different building form? During the
1950s Buckminister Fuller introduced the idea of mobile, portable structures. In the 1960s Archigrams' examples of architectural nomadism made the mobile home an accepted feature of our contemporary landscape. Currently, new materials and new methods of assembly and transportation open opportunities for rethinking portable architecture.

For this thesis, a shelter was developed which provides inhabitable space and portability. The shelter was designed to be easily carried as a backpack. With minimum human effort, the structure is assembled and erected in a few minutes. Although this portable shelter needs to be maneuvered, folded and tucked away for transportation, it does meet the demands of nomadic behavior which emphasizes comfort and portability.



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