Danish Artists Create Life-Size Walking House For Wysing Arts Centre Near Cambridge

By Kai Tabacek | 29 August 2008
Computer illustration of people living in their walking houses with a city skyline in the background

The artists' mock-up of a walking house village. Courtesy Wysing Arts Centre

With oil prices rocketing and mortgages plummeting, visionary Danish artist collective N55 has solved the joint problems of transport and housing by building a home that can walk.

Wysing Arts Centre, located in the countryside near Cambridge, will host the wandering oddity next month along with a display of the designs, manuals and concepts that went into the creation of the Walking House.

Using six hydraulic legs, the house will be able to toddle at the same rate as a human – around five miles per hour – and is designed to function on all types of terrain. The unit will also be carbon-neutral deriving all of its energy from micro windmills and solar panels.

In N55’s design brief they write: “Walking House is a modular dwelling system that enables persons to live a peaceful nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape or cityscape with minimal impact on the environment.”

Three layers of walking houses piled up giving the appearance of a honeycomb structure.

The artists' mock-up of how walking houses could happily cohabit on a Cambridge lawn. Courtesy Wysing Arts Centre

The idea was inspired by the artists’ close work with the traveller community in Cambridge and by their nomadic lifestyle which is under threat. As well as being itinerant it will be possible to attach one walking house to another to form temporary communities, much like networked games consoles.

N55, whose mantra is to treat “art as a part of everyday life”, is interested in finding solutions to real problems through their artwork. Previous projects have included a rocket system for distributing printed matter or seeds, a home hydroponic unit for growing food and a living platform that can be suspended from trees or buildings.

In preparing the Walking House N55 has sought advice from specialists at BRA Global and MIT Institute of Engineering. All of their projects are documented on their website in the form of manuals, enabling others to use their solutions.

One of the white, hexagonal cyclindrical walking houses with rolling green hills in the background.

The artists' mock-up of a walking house up close. Courtesy Wysing Arts Centre

Lotte Juul Petersen, Artists and Programmes Curator at Wysing, said: “This project is a good example of how Wysing have been working closely with local communities, as well as our interest in working collaboratively with partners across the arts and sciences in ways that are beneficial to both parties.”

The Walking House is currently under construction in Copenhagen but will be on display at Wysing Arts Centre from October 24 until November 30 2008. It has not been confirmed whether it will take a ferry across the Channel or swim.

Find out more about the work of N55 at www.n55.dk.

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