jon salerno: habitat microhome concept jon salerno: habitat microhome concept
jun 21, 2011

jon salerno: habitat microhome concept

the ‘habitat’ living/commuting concept by jon salerno

‘habitat’, conceptualized by american product designer jon salerno, begins with the idea of docking, intuitive
to our usage of technology, and applies it to solve problems of unsustainable living and commuting.

the fundamental structures of ‘habitat’ are a 100-square-foot cubic pod and a 32-square foot electrical vehicle,
usable separately (as a microhome and car) or together, to create a 132-square-foot multi-level living space.
the vehicle’s four chairs are reconfigurable: arranged in a normal forward position for driving,
but rotatable to face one another to create a small living room when the car is docked to the home.

utilizing solar and wind energy, the two structures each store and feed energy to one another,
with adjustable solar panels lining the roof of the living structure.


diagram of configuration of the housing cube


the four seats in the ‘habitat’ vehicle face forward when used for driving, but can rotate in to add living and socializing space when docked


concept diagram of the energy sharing between the structures, making use of solar panels, wind energy, and fuel cells


‘habitat’ concept diagram, illustrating the structures used separately (top) or as a single living space (bottom)

  • No bathroom?

    Mik says:
  • really interesting!! it would be great to see architects and microhomers take it up and work through further. it’s kind of like an extension of the tumbleweed house concept (http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/), but really making the car something fundamental rather than secondary to the concept design.

    jenny filippetti I designboom says:
  • Shame it would probably be impractical for the car to be able to carry the house along (like a motor-home, but with a detachable car). But it appears a bit too top-heavy and I doubt the electric vehicle is sturdy or powerful enough.

    But I think this is neat – I could definitely see it as on-site housing for various types of temporary jobs. That way you’re not stuck in an efficiency apartment when you’re not working; you can go places.

    Jeff Edsell says:
  • The idea is good, the execution is not. It feels like student work, which is valid, but it appears too vague. The dwelling’s structural integrity is very questionable and as Mik pointed out, there’s no bathroom. This is idea would work as a temporary shelter i a camping-like ground where paper thin walls and no conveniences are acceptable.

    DsgnCrit says:
  • DsgnCrit’s comments seem like that of a student. lol. In my opinion I believe the temporary shelter aspect is what the design is trying to acheive. And when camping, everyone knows that mother nature is your bathroom.

    IamYou says:
  • this one was on comic of donald duck years ago…..!

    Peter says:
  • IamYou, you seem a bit on edge about DsgnCrit’s comments, I don’t think this design was intended as a temporary shelter. I am there with DsgnCrit regarding the questioning of the lack of an important aspect of any “living space.” I do too question why in a 100 foot “habitat” there is a kitchen with plumbing but not a bathroom. Is this intended for urban, sub-urban or rural applications? this is definitely vague and it needs lots refinement, just try to park a vehicle with such a big blind spot on its top through a tight fit opening like the one on the illustrations. I would consider this a brainstorming session, it is the start of a good idea but it certainly needs lots of work

    Dave says:
  • My views side more or less with Dave’s well-expressed ones, but that’s why I’m happy to see this article… a springboard so we can have a discussion just like this one! I agree that it’s a roughly sketched concept, but it’s an unexpected one (unless the donald duck thing is true :-D)… so let’s get talking! There’s the bathroom thing. Anyone know enough about the feasibility or not of transporting such a structure onto a vehicle? I imagine some of the most economic, lightweight materials/composites might not be the most ecofriendly… but probably some of you know otherwise?

    Richard UK says:
  • Dave & DsgnCrit – I simply found fault with the “feels like student work.” Some of my best design work was done as a student and I feel that when judging a design that the amount of “experience” of the creator is irrelevant. Breakthroughs are breakthroughs and failures are failures. Debate about temporary vs permanent are certainly welcomed however!

    IamYou says:
  • how about a car that runs on human waste? toilet bucket seats!

    LML says:
  • That’s really really interesting to me. It’s involoving in sustainable, recycling, reusing some energy ranging from interior architecture, product and enery solution. That’s enough to inspire something idealistic for designer tho. And I think that it is one of design trends through User experience.

    jh says:
  • jh I agree with some of your positions however my views are more in synch with both Dave and Richard UK’s comments. The idea is too incomplete to be thought of as a solid concept, take this entry on designboom for instance:
    http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/10327/rafaa-architecture-and-design-the-last-resort.html
    Conceptual & Inspirational but not trying to solve so many issues on such a superficial level that it may not be viewed as simple utopia

    ArTmAn says:
  • IamYou the comment wasn’t meant to suggest that breakthrough cannot happen with minimal experience; however, this is not a breakthrough project, many others have thought of an integration between compact dwelling and transportation with a sustainable consciousness in a more concise manner. If you took offense to my “student” comment that is your thing. By that I mean that most student’s work ,NO matter how hot it looks or seems, lacks fundamental elements that separate it from mature designer and/or studios which in this case is NO exception. The visual presentation, explanation and the details presented are quite amateurish compared to other work displayed on this site. Like I said it a good start but it needs plenty of consideration to even be a good concept

    DsgnCrit says:
  • IamYou it is evident the comment did touch a sensitive subject regarding your own professional development, which I am sure was not the intention. I agree with the comments of this being the work of somebody without refined skills. The reality of the situation is that in order to generate the necessary mindset shift in the public towards a more sustainable future, we as designers have the duty to consider the different aspects of what an idea like this would take to materialize. If this would be presented to a zoning board, city counsel, etc. the vagueness of such proposal would justify the status quo. To think of a world where no regulations are in place is naive, even look at movies today take Tron as an example, absolutely sci-fi but the amount thought and detail behind it, enables the human mind to think of it as a possibility.

    RossK says:
  • Wow there’s some passionate people here, I like that. This reminds me of the sophomore level work that transportation kids did at the school where I went, creating “sustainable” concepts but lacking the research to substantiate their ideas. This mentions fuel cells, why would you use solar panels with fuel cells when these consume a reactant such as hydrogen or oxygen to generate energy? hmm.

    kim says:

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