Influences in current events at the time influenced the idea of Mobile Product Architecture in order to meet demands of the consumer after WWII. People’s lifestyles had moved from staying at home to an on the go lifestyle causing more families to spend more time outside of their home. With the soldiers returning home, there became a high demand for the house market as more soldiers were looking for jobs and places to settle down. The war also brought along the Space Race which led to a whole other movement in possibilities of other life forms besides our own which influenced a new market in Sci-Fiction and increased technologies in transportation including the spacecraft, plane, and automobile. Eevents such as these and others became catalyst to new inventions that dealt with mobility including the baby carriage, the red wagon sled, and better automobile designs. With current events influencing consumerism, architecture took on similar strategies to respond to new industries and problems.
The diagram above is a chart of the main techniques employed in each main category of mobility that influenced architects and designers of the time for temporal architecture and architectural elements.
Literal mobility was literally being able to pick something up and move it to a new destination. The research looked into an idea of portability and disposal once done with the product which both led to re-usability. Projects of influence were the Smithsons, House of the Future, and Archigram’s Capsule House. Te House of the Future used innovations in plastics where surfaces and design elements could be replaced with newer technologies through a cheap, sustainable material that could have its parts evacuated and recreated to meet the new advances. The Capsule House was looking more into the idea of portability where the house could be uplifted from a machine to make a whole complex of homes from a home module which could them be removed and re-engineered when it became outdated. The case studies addressed ways to replace the old with the new without demolishing the entire design to respond to cultural changes.
Figural mobility is looking into the social and cultural progress of making the product appeal to consumers through an aesthetic quality. It pushes people to see into the future in which something is the new, hip thing. The Suitaloon by Archigram and Appliance House by the Smithsons were case study examples which both explored the idea of something appealing aesthetically by new technologies in moving parts, surface manipulations, and material investigations that were ahead of their time. The Suitaloon was a suit that could be worn and taken apart. It became a nomadic idea of living. It was meant to combine with another project, mentioned later, known as the Cushicle. Appliance House questioned the basic typology of a house with hollow walls for new appliances to be taken in and replaced, as well as curved walls that helped delineate traffic flows through a space. In both cases, the home became something away from the norm into a futuristic entity that created provocative responses to house designs.
Social mobility is looking into a performance characteristic in how user interaction is meant to be democratic to allow for user preference in who they interact and associate with. It allowed for a more universal design where different people from different backgrounds could come together or not depending on the relationships of the users themselves to allow for a mobility through circulation and natural aleatory spaces from conditions within the space. The Smithsons Golden Lane dealt with this by hoping to promote a community within a residential complex through branches of residences accumulating in main public spaces where the corridors intersected. The Cushicle is another example, but more literal where the suit is meant to connect to another suit. The connected suits create an addition to a home, becoming an enlarged enclosure that inflates into a home. Through the Cushicle and Golden Lane, user interaction was important in creating relationships within the architectural space that changed from day to day.
Architectural mobility is creating a flexibility within spaces through reconfiguration and organizations to create new space and relationships through forms and programs, allowing users to control the interiors they are in. This idea is seen in Cedric Price’s Fun Palace with movable wall partitions that moved on a track and pulley systems to re-configure spaces. Similar is the Archigram Monte Carlo design in which programs could change between different times of the week to accommodate a variety of activities in one location. Multi- programmatic spaces became a response to spaces that were not meant to be permanent, but evolved with the various functions that could happen based on the owners of the building. In both cases, these works became huge influences for phase three of the design phase for the studio.
Economic mobility deals with the processes in responding to monetary factors that cuts cost down in production to help replicate and expand the design at fast rates with low costs. The ideas of mass production and prefabrication are explored for methods of assembly like the assembly line, which does not require professionals to put together the assembly, but each element works as a kit of part where users can install and do it themselves. This leads to recyclable products that can be prefabricated again from waste to reduce material and production expenses. The idea was to respond to the high demand and low economy to get the best “bang for your buck”. Optimization was key. Dymaxion House by Buckminster Fuller is a great example with the idea that the small house can be made from cheap, recyclable materials that can then be replicated into multiple designs throughout an overall typology. The Monsanto House by Monsanto was similar except it was more of the assemblage through series of elements that were prefabricated and assembled on site. The plastic house was recyclable and uninstalled in Disney’s Fantasy Land two years later.
The breakdown of each mobility led to an interest in site research that dealt with the trade economy and how distribution of products influenced the culture of a location from the 1900s-present conditions.