Converted Airstream

Mobility may be the defining buzzword of the past century, but what will become of all of those gas-guzzling, suburb-fueling portable homes of the future past? These two converted Airstream trailers (now art and writing studios respectively) are at the heart of that question in many ways – iconic symbols of a mobile society, RVs now recycled from aerodynamic campers into niche spaces.

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Airstream to workspace

The first is still semi-mobile, but definitely local: the so-called “Tin Can Studio is a mobile project space housed in a converted 18ft Streamline trailer. Our goal is for the project to become a platform for collaboration and public engagement; a place where people can come together to build, make, show and share ideas with the intention of building community through the act of collaborative production, as well as through the creation of a physical space for gathering and dialogue.”

Portable? Yes. Still, it is a different version of mobility than the private luxury purpose for which the freedom-for-sale Airstream was original designed.

Renovated Airstream interiors

The second by 26 Letters is entirely static: a backyard art studio that shows the reuse potential of something designed as a vehicle but re-purposed as a stationary space.

Airstream before and after

The before-and-after photos show just how this vintage classic became more than a icon of retro-futurism – a gutted, modified and ultimately transformed space that is neither entirely old or new.

Updated Airstream retro interiors

New wiring, insulation, lighting, surfaces and furniture inform both of these semi-DIY projects – neither really reflects the original form (except on the mirrored-glass exterior) but both manage to somehow tap into the classic appeal of the Airstream aesthetic, all without the hyper-mobility that was the original focus of the streamlined design.

Here’s more information behind the second project, from 26 Letters:

“The story goes like this… Business was really picking up in 2009 and we received packages almost daily. One day, I returned home to find boxes stacked four feet high at our front door. The UPS man tossed the welcome mat over the top of the pile and placed a sticky note on the door with the ‘under the mat’ box checked.”

Sarah Spencer and the 26 Letters Trailer

“Overwhelmed and running out of room, we began to consider options for building a space on the property. We thought about the time and expense needed to build something of that magnitude and quickly turned to a more creative solution. We bought a charming 1963 Safari Airstream trailer and spent a month remodeling. The trailer is home to 26 Letters Studio and is the perfect place to conduct all creative endeavors that enrich our delicious life here in the Southwest.”