N55 is a collective of artists based in Denmark who see art as part of everyday life and who are particularly interested in architecture and design. It is a non-commercial platform and they document their works and interventions in the form of manuals, so they can be developed by third parties.
Their vision of a democratically organized collaborating body of self-reliant individuals is described in their writing and embodied in their designs. Most of their writing takes the form of manuals, and for Wysing Arts Centre they produced a Walking House manual. The manual was developed into a fully functioning object following Interact, an Arts Council funded placement.
The concept of the Walking House came out of N55’s residency at Wysing in 2007, during which they researched the lifestyles and legal concerns relating to some of Cambridge’s community of people of traveller origin. N55 took the concept of the historic model of the 18th century Romany horse carriage - as a tool for mobility that has a minimal effect on the environment - and re-worked it for the 21st century. Working closely with specialists at MIT Institute of Engineering in Massachusetts they built a fully functioning Walking House – the house walks using adapted linear actuators. The design allows the structure to move slowly at the same pace as a human can walk, about 5km an hour in real terms.
Walking House is a modular system that allows people to live a peaceful nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape with minimal impact on the environment. It collects energy from its surroundings using solar and wind power, it is not reliant on any road infrastructure and can move on all types of terrain.
The Walking House adapts to people rather than people having to adapt to the house, so by adding further modules human social needs and changing demands from single living occupancy changing to families can be accommodated. Walking House forms various sizes of communities – even walking villages when two or more units are added together.
Walking House was at Wysing from 23rd October to 30th November and through 2009. Click here for more information. The Walking House also travelled to the Ruhr region of Germany for the International Capital of Culture 2010 and continues to travel to different communities across northern Europe.
Visit N55’s website here for a Manual for micro dwelling.