The term ‘home’ is used somewhat generously in this context, but if a home’s primary purpose is to provide shelter, it fits – and focusing too much on function in this case would be an easy way to miss the point.
Sure, the tiny portable Bao House (a play on both Bau Haus and the Chinese word for ‘bulge’) sleeps three, but what is neat about it is its mode of transport – you can tow it along on a trike – and its lightweight visual effect.
Like ultra-light concrete, spray polyurethane foam forms what looks like loose material to the casual observer, lending the piece an air of lightness and simplicity, reinforced by a translucent ceiling panel. So the appearance of lightness is real, but the source of it is not at all what one would expect.
The result is the visual opposite of the material used to mold the hard substance, but the impact is much the same – a surprise to those who reach out and touch it. Design by Dot Architects and images by Yuming Baia &Vanessa Chen.
“The brief is to design a mobile house which can be driven by human power. The structure was designed and fabricated by dot Architects. Bao House is designed to be a house detached from land. Built with SPF (Spray polyurethane foam), a 2X2 metre cube is fixed on a tricycle, thus the vehicle could move around in the city streets while functioning as a shelter. The exterior of the house is made of SPF. Fabric was deployed as exterior mold, and spray Polyurethane foam was injected. As the foam dried it expanded and produced great pressure on the fabric which was fixed to the inner wooden mold at anchor points.”
“Each anchor point was connected by strings in order to create a secondary texture. Finally a multiple bulge outward was achieved. Bao House gets its name from this bubble-like surface, since ‘bao’ in Chinese means bulge. The exterior and interior molds were tear down after the SPF dried and got its shape. The structure is light in weight and bold in appearance, water-resistant and thermal-insulated. The interior is designed to accommodate three people, with a mattress on the floor and a trans- parent Polycarbonated panel on the roof. The simple layout provides peace and tranquility, as the skylight pours into the pure white solitary space.”