Architecture in Motion: The history and development of portable building

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Routledge, Aug 15, 2013 - Architecture - 328 pages
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The idea that architecture can be portable is one that grabs the imagination of both designers and the people who use it, perhaps because it so often forecasts a dynamic and creative solution to the complex problems of our contemporary mobile society, while at the same time dealing with issues of practicality, economy and sustainability.

Architecture in Motion examines the development of portable, transportable, demountable and temporary architecture from prehistory to the present day. From familiar vernacular models such as the tent, mobile home and houseboat, to ambitious developments in military and construction engineering, all aspects of portable building are considered.

Building on his earlier works Portable Architecture and Houses in Motion, Robert Kronenburg compares traditional forms of building, current commercial products and the work of innovative designers, and examines key contemporary portable buildings to reveal surprising, exciting and imaginative examples. He explores the philosophical and technological issues raised by these experimental and futuristic prototypes.

By understanding the nature of transitory architecture, a new ecologically aware design strategy can be developed to prioritise buildings that 'tread lightly on the earth' and still convey the sense of identity and community necessary for an established responsible society. This book provides a unique insight into this pivotal field of design.


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1 Prehistoric and traditional portable buildings
2 Biostructures and vehicles
3 Adaptable building technology before 1900
Fuller Eames and Otto
5 Military design
6 Industries and engineering
7 Shelter after disaster
8 Experimental architecture
9 Portable architecture applications
10 The value of portable architecture
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About the author (2013)

Robert Kronenburg holds the Roscoe Chair of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, UK. His long-standing research into innovative forms of architectural design is renowned internationally. His books include Houses in Motion, Spirit of the Machine, Portable Architecture, Flexible: Architecture that Responds to Change and Live Architecture: Venues, Stages and Arenas for Popular Music.

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