Tricycle House pedal-powered RV offers lots of home comforts


March 8, 2013

The Tricycle House opens like an accordion to offer more space

The Tricycle House opens like an accordion to offer more space

Image Gallery (20 images)

The idea of living life on the road in an RV can be appealing. Unfortunately, most RV’s aren’t very environmentally friendly, nor are they self-sufficient. However, the Tricycle House isn’t like most RV’s, as it relies on pedal power to move between destinations, and boasts several pieces of clever folding furniture to provide those much-needed home comforts.

Conceived by architectural firm People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) for 2012’s “Get It Louder” Exhibition in Beijing, the Tricycle House addresses the fact that private ownership of land is not permitted in China. The pedal-powered RV envisions a future in which individual Chinese people are able to more fully connect with their land, while living simply and sustainably, on their own terms.

The Tardis-like house structure is affixed to a tricycle and constructed from polypropylene (a thermoplastic polymer). The polypropylene is cut with a CNC router, before being folded and welded into shape, retaining its strength but gaining a certain degree of flexibility. This allows the Tricycle House to open like an accordion, and offer modern amenities like a bath, bed, and water tank. It can even attach to other Tricycle Houses to increase available space.

The images produced by PIDO impart a real sense of the attention to detail which has been accomplished, with an ingenious series of drawers, shelves and fold-away cupboards all packed into the miniature mobile home. A dining table converts into a bed, and the sink, stove, and bath all collapse into the front wall – each inch of space is utilized.

There’s no electricity on-board, so the only lighting which will be on offer for residents of the Tricycle House is that which seeps through the translucent polypropylene building material. The finer details of exactly how a bath and stove would work safely aren’t expanded upon by the designers.

In addition to the Tricycle House, PIDO also fabricated a smaller Tricycle Garden companion vehicle (pictured above), giving each Tricycle House resident their own piece of portable land. PIDO further imagines multiple Tricycle Homes and Tricycle Gardens coming together to form a veritable mobile caravan community.

Admittedly, the Tricycle House isn’t the only pedal-powered RV to be created, and one can't help but reel off a mental list of questions concerning the efficacy of PIDO's vision when taking in the impressive features. Despite these caveats, the Tricycle House does offer a very thought-provoking concept of sustainable nomadic living, which also asks questions of current Chinese government policy regarding land ownership.

As of writing, we’ve heard no word on plans to bring the House Tricycle to market.

Source: People's Industrial Design Office via Archilovers

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Since the thing doesn't have any power, a Lumio would pair perfectly with it.

Two Replies

On the plus side - Earthquake Proof On the minus side - A nightmare every windy day.

Dave B13

I imagine that in anything above wind force 2 on the Beaufort scale you would be sailing it rather than pedalling it.

Mel Tisdale

As others have noted, wind is a great factor, but it appears that there's substantial empty vertical space. Some method of collapsing the top to reduce the area exposed to the wind would make this more practical. Not necessarily practical overall, just more practical.


Wow no one addresses the issues that those living this "Life Style" have no means to secure their property from theft. They have limited employment opportunities as everyone parking the "home " next to work will jam up the area if they could keep it and everything valuable in it from being stolen in the first place. Next the police are notorious for confiscating and destroying property like this to "Discourage" transients or Nomads that are blamed for crimes of all kinds. This is just a hobo shack on wheels United Nations Agenda 21 style.

Joseph Mertens

Engineers at there finest, the ones that brought us the reverse grip soldering iron, the 17 ft portable shed that's only 16.10 and other stuff that looked good on paper .. thanks !

Jay Finke

Given that virtually everything on the road is going to be going faster than the bike and it provides zero visibility of what's coming up behind it, I'd suggest that they come with an organ donor card.

Marcus Carr

i'd like to see this as a delta recumbent tricycle and have it expand to the front over the rider's area. i agree that it needs to collapse in height when under way. i don't think there's any way to make it work for 2 people. fitting 1 person and his gear is a big enough challenge. as for securing one's belongings inside, i think it's possible to secure the envelope against semi-serious thieves but that does no good if the whole isn't securely locked to some immovable object. the major problem i see is the issue of rejection that's been shown by commentors right here. if the readers of gizmag are statistically against it, the wider public will be against it as well. that has nothing to do w/ the vehicle's functionality, it is purely a reflection of the distrust many people have towards those who can't afford a conventional dwelling, or simply choose an alternative dwelling.


kuryus, I believe you are correct but it would be hard to prove that readers of gizmag statistically represent anything.

And for the many ongoing negative commentators herein - Gizmag is about new and emerging technologies and perhaps a modern analogy to Franciscus Linus who was well traveled, a great communicator, a determined theorist, but often wrong.

If you want to read about well developed, successful, working inventions may I suggest reading the History of Technology edited by Ian Inkster


Seems the people posting here who are opposed seem to be the paranoid types: ie "UN Style Agenda 21"...

However, yes, wind could be a problem.

Corey Reichle
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