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Animating Biophilosophy:
RV (Room Vehicle) Prototype: Where the Surface meets the Machine | Greg Lynn


  INFLeXions No. 7 | 6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

Because of contemporary digital communication, entertainment and the intelligent control of machines, the world expects more from the physical environment today. Mobility and high performance must be calibrated with reduction in footprint and efficiency. The bespoke comfort of a one-of-a-kind specified automobile is merging with the living room couch and television where everyplace aspires to be a first class flat bed seat with colour temperature and intensity controlled lighting, internet access and entertainment on-demand.

In order to move, robotic motion from industry is brought to motion types germane to reclining furniture. However, in the case of the mechanical or robotic reclining lounge chair, by placing all of the leisure functions at arms’ reach from a stationary seat the activities of living and the occupant’s musculature tend to contract to a stationary point. Despite the action and dynamism of the minivan lifestyle replete with sport, design and professionalism, most equate the recliner with sedentary consumption:

“...comfort like the armchair quarterback... like tomorrow's top designers...

...flexibility like the soccer Mom...

...quality like the octogenarian who remembers

‘how things used to be made’...

...precision like the surgeon.

...because you're comfortable with the best.” [1]

The RV Prototype brings intelligent movement and compact comfort to the living space as an alternative to over-inflated ‘McMansions’ by reducing footprint and material while also bringing the enthusiasm and activity of theme park, a hamster ball, an exercise machine, a natural landscape or sporting equipment to the human living sphere. The living space does not move around you to make you comfortable, but instead you are rolled and must climb, tumble, traverse and spelunk across the ergonomic surface like a mountain goat, a Pilates disciple, a Parkour Tracuer or wannabe Spiderman. Instead of a baronial interior of luxury materials, in order to be movable, the materials and construction methods of the RV Prototype replace masonry and steel with lightweight, high strength cloth bonded to either a wood or cork core. To be affordable and responsible the 60m2 living space is distributed across the surface of the interior rather than just across the floor; thereby reducing the literal and energy footprint.


By building in cloth structures made rigid with glue we are able to orient materials at the fiber scale for construction. Looking at the materials and construction logic of boats, planes and formula one cars it is possible to build large scale structures that are incredibly light and strong. Whereas a 60m2 pavilion made in wood, steel, glass or brick is measured in millions of pounds a carbon reinforced composite structure like this is measured in the thousands; less than 1/1000th the weight of conventional construction. So a square meter of carbon can cost 1000 times more than a similar square meter of brick and still be comparably priced. Once light enough, these building elements can be moved and manipulated with very little effort.


Actuation and control by digital processes is infiltrating objects at a variety of scales. The foundation of the RV Prototype is a slab on grade with four raised rolling pivots that allow the house to be rolled through the ‘Z axis’. These rolling points of support are located on a revolving ring that allows the structure to be rotated through the ‘X & Y axes’.


We expect our environments to have some of the same qualities as the other technologies that have insinuated themselves into our lifestyle. Moving, adaptable, dynamic, bespoke and intelligent objects surround us from transportation, to clothing, to entertainment, to communications. High performance is not the same as function. Today, performance is related to desire more than a common benchmark of use.


Within the footprint of a cottage lives a villa’s worth of surfaces. Quite simply, you sleep on the ceiling, bath on the wall and live on the floor. The RV Prototype rotates through 270 degrees of vertical motion and 360 degrees of motion in the ground plane. Within the footprint of 40m2 is over 100m2 of livable surface. In this case less volume is more surface.


[1] Copyright 2011 Barcalounger® Corporation.




Animating Biophilosophy


Edited by A.J. Nocek, Phillip Thurtle

Introduction: Vitalizing Thought
Phillip Thurtle and A.J. Nocek

On Ascensionism
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Biomedia and the Pragmatics of Life in Architectural Design
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Concepts have a life on their own: Biophilosophy, History and Structure in Georges Canguilhem
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Animation and Vitality
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Elizabeth Buschmann

Stephanie Maxwell

Animation and Vitality
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Animation and the Medium of Life
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Finding Animals with Plant Intelligence

Richard Doyle


Edited by Marie-Pier Boucher and
Adam Szymanski

RV (Room Vehicle) Prototype: Where the Surface Meets the Machine
Greg Lynn

The Rhythmic Dance of (Micro-)Contrasts
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Continuous Horizons

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Christian Marclay's The Clock as Relational Environment
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In the Middle of it All: Words on and
with Peter Mettler

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