“Bob” is far from the first cool architectural concept to seek a new form of nomadic living, but it is an impressively daring, comprehensive and versatile one. This futuristic truck idea with a funny name borrows strategically from familiar typologies and recent histories, but blends these influences into something uniquely forward-thinking.
Unlike many portable housing plans, for instance, the distinction between driving and living space is fundamentally blurred in this work by Maynard Architects. Passenger and driver seats become swiveling lounge chairs in the midst of a mobile living room, preventing unnecessary divisions of labor and functional duplication.
Along the same space-saving, multi-functional lines, all key vehicular components (drive train, engine and gearbox) are tucked neatly under this pair of front seats. As footprints go, this one is small – the size of a normal truck that is highway-worthy and can be parked in most conventional spaces, too.
The most obvious move – a slice down the center that allows the vehicle to split and fold open – is dramatic but not fundamentally new. What is, though, is the arrangement of parts around and within it – the hybrid set of ideas that make it both more internally efficient as an interior design but, conversely, more connected to the outside world as well. Why is it called “Bob”? We’re not sure, but we do know that conventional campers, tents, sleeper trucks and canvas yurts may have all just met their match.
About the designers: “Austin Maynard Architects explore architecture of enthusiasm. Treating each project as a unique challenge, and working directly with clients and occupants, our team offer individual possibilities and thoughtful responses to people, brief and place. We embrace deliberative design and look to issues of livability, culture, heritage, community connection, mental health and cures to modern isolation.”
“We pride ourselves in sustainable design and experimentation. Ideas are concept rich, left of centre, playful and environmentally conscious; styles and singular themes are avoided. At Austin Maynard we specialize in ideas rather than building type, whether the project is a house in Fitzroy, a library in Japan, a protest shelter in Tasmania or a plywood bicycle.”