Debra Prinzing

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A shed that walks

November 22nd, 2008

Couldn’t resist sharing this wacky invention called The Walking House, which appeared in the New York Times’ House & Home section two days ago.

Apparently, the design of this jet-black structure, which looks like a giant, six-sided building-block with “windows” on each end, was inspired by 18th and 19th century Gypsy carriages.

A Danish art collective called N55 created it during a residency at the Wysing Arts Center in Cambridge, England (The Walking House photo is from this web site).

Envisioned as a “high-tech form of nomadic living,” The Walking House measures 60-square-feet. Inside: a bed, a kitchen, a toilet, a shower, and a wood burning stove.

The computer-controlled legs were created by a M.I.T. engineer. You can watch a little video of The Walking House’s snail-like movements here:


There are some pretty funny comments – hundreds of them, actually – on the YouTube post. I’ll paraphrase three that caught my attention:

What happened to using good, old-fashioned wheels?

What about just walking – you could move a lot faster!

This looks like it was designed for obese people to transport themselves to McDonald’s for a Big Mac

Uh-huh. I dunno, it seems like a lot of work to get this behemoth on six legs to s-l-o-w-l-y meander at the speed of 196 feet per hour.

All I know is that the real Gypsy carriage I visited in Sun Valley this past summer seemed quite a bit more sensible – and it has four old-fashioned wheels.

Inside, there is a full-sized bed, a little cooking area, charming lace curtains, and lots of appeal! Imagine sleeping here, with the canvas roof overhead like a big canopy.

Throw open the door and watch nature’s display; or, perch on the steps with a mug o’ coffee and admire the sunrise. Glorious!

This green-and-red Basque sheep wagon was restored by a craftsman named Cotton Riley (how’s that for authentic?) for Cindy Hamlin, a passionate garden designer and friend of Mary Ann Newcomer’s. I felt very lucky that Cindy shared her hideaway-on-wheels with me!

Cindy’s abode may not be high tech, but it’s got a whole lotta character – and I bet it’s more comfy than The Walking House, too. Vive le difference!

8 Responses to “A shed that walks”

  1. Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) Says:

    Creative. Inventive. As long as people keep thinking and trying, they’ll eventually hit on something really remarkable…this may not be it, but it’s entertaining.


  2. MA Says:

    there you are! Hi! Fond remembrances of summer in Sun Valley. But, how weird is that walking contraption? Ick.

  3. Dee/reddirtramblings Says:

    It made me a nervous wreck to watch those legs slowly propel the house forward. I’ll take the little house in the woods.~~Dee

  4. Marty Ross Says:

    Hi Debra: The gypsy wagon especially made me think of the ice wagon art colony established by Grant Wood in Stone City, Iowa. I always thought that would be so romantic, especially if I had a couple of ponies to pull my colorful painted wagon. I can just imagine a garden-writers’ gypsy-wagon colony, parked somewhere for the summer, perhaps, or trundling around the countryside with our plans and plants (and computers). We would always travel to salubrious climates. What fun it would be. With cheer, M

  5. Lydia Plunk Says:

    The walking house looks like a rock-tumbler. Or a rotating compost bin. Something perhaps designed after eating brownies in Berkeley.
    Proof- Newer doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes it just means weirder.
    The gypsy carraige looks like a fairy tale.
    My conclusion-
    Better to live in a fairy tale than a compost heap.

  6. Jayme Says:

    This shed/wagon is sooo cute. I am really glad that you added a flickr badge to your blog. So great to get others’ ideas on sheds. I’m going to tell my friend to upload her recycled door shed when she’s done.
    Happy Holidays!

    OMG, I definitely want to see that recycled door shed, Jayme! Keep me posted – it sounds great!

  7. Tonya Says:

    It feels good to have a garden and have fresh veggies.

  8. lotte juul petersen Says:

    We have this so called walking house. The artists left it here for free storage. It does not work and is a great embarrassment to staff at the wysing center in Cambridge. We have made up many excuse for the not working . Now it is time for it to be moved away or destroyed. please

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