If you’ve ever left home, even for a second, you recognize that being home is the best. Leaving home means that you’re without the comfort of your own four walls, not to mention all of your stuff. Whether you’re parting ways with the roof over your head for a quick trip to the grocery store, work, or even vacation – it’s all too soon before you realize, time and time again, that there’s no place like home. But what if you could take home with you? And I’m not talking about stuffing all your favorite stuff into a suitcase and then acting surprised when you have to pay half of your mortgage to ***actually*** take it on a plane. No, I’m talking about a new era of mobile homes.
Ten Fold Engineering, an innovative technology design firm based near London in the United Kingdom has done the unthinkable: they’ve made mobile homes cool. One of their pride-and-joy worthy projects, called a uBox, has recently earned the firm attention here, there, and everywhere. The uBox is, in essence, roughly a 645 square foot modular structure intended to be a home that can assemble (or de-assemble) itself in under ten minutes flat.
Let me back it up a little bit. Ten Fold’s building, as Curbed magazine so beautifully describes it, can“ unfurl like an accordion in under ten minutes and just as easily fold back in on itself for easy transport on a truck bed. All that’s required is a hand-held, battery-powered drill.” While the mobile units can’t accommodate a lot of furniture and other essentials in their folded state, there are actually about 215 square feet that can store goods while in transit.
David Martyn, the founder of Ten Fold Engineering, spoke to CNN candidly about the design, citing the desire and need for flexibility as the main reason for his latest invention. Martyn says:
“In our new world, we need agility because things change all the time. Nothing else can be moved at the speed that modern life demands. The question was: ‘Can you actually get something that is big enough to be useful, to work in and to carry the things you need?’ We tried to develop something that could be transported using traditional systems like trucks, that could unload without cranes or workmen; and that could be done in minutes, so you didn’t lose any time.
“You could have it up on a mountain in the winter and on the beach in the summer. I know that sounds like just a rich person’s thing, but it isn’t. A school could have a classroom (in one place) during term time (and) elsewhere during the summer. There’s more opportunity for more people, and less redundancy and waste.”
The flexibility of these units is almost unlimited. In addition to moving locations entirely, internal walls can be rearranged according to preference and they are easily stackable or run off of solar panels. The units aren’t intended to be for everyone, but rather offer a solution to those who want a home but need more flexibility and mobility than traditional architecture provides. And while they were originally designed to be dwellings, that’s certainly not the only use case – they can also be used as classrooms, offices, retail space, and more.
The uBox is still relatively new to the market, coming in at around $129,000. The team has invested four years and a large sum of the firm’s money to develop, perfect, patent, and bring these to market. Not only does it make moving an easy feat, but it allows for house ownership without land ownership – bringing home sweet home into the realm of possibility for most.