Suburban Nomad: Hybrid Igloo, Yurt, Tent + Tipi Home Idea

The juxtaposition of such lifestyle extremes – fixed-space suburban living and nomadic world-travel dwelling – makes for a fascinating conceptual challenge. It was, in fact, similarly neighboring opposites that gave rise to the idea in the mid of design student living on a lovely nature-filled campus but surrounded by suburbia on all sides.

John Paananen took it upon himself to discover what would happen if he were to make over one of the most mobile kinds of traditional buildings – the tipi, with inspiration from its yurt, tent and igloo cousins – turning it into a stationary home with all of the creature comforts to be found in contemporary suburbs.

Instead of a portable and organically-evolved design, he chose to force-fit the general shape and style of a conventional nomadic dwelling into the space and settings. Rather than put the emphasis on easy construction (and deconstruction) for living on the move, the construction methods and materials follow those of a typical suburban house – complete with a wood frame and artificial siding (no poles and soft materials one would expect).

The results? a translucent-skinned, semi-solid structure that lacks the mobility of a historic yurt, tent or tipi – almost a parody of (or at least a commentary on) the static nature of modern dwellings. Furnished in clean and casual style, the interior gives a strange not to nature via a forest printed in photo-realistic fashion on the wall. So is this art, architecture or something else? That only you can judge – but it sure looks more comfortable than what most people take camping. Still, if you are looking for one on sale look elsewhere: this one-off design was anything but cheap and easy to buy parts for and assemble – which, in a way, is part of the point.

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