Transforming Castle Truck Becomes 3-Story Tiny House

The tiny house movement is gathering speed worldwide, and starting to build on the Playa too.

In 2011 the Tiny House Blog published a post featuring The Tiny Houses of Black Rock City and they followed this up again in 2014 with The Tiny Houses of Black Rock City: Caravansary. We’ve also featured the Golden Rebar award for Burnitecture in 2013 and 2014. Reno Artist Matt Schwartz is an enthusiast who hosts Tiny House Tuesdays at The Generator.

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Tiny House at Burning Man 2014. Image: Tiny House Blog

a tiny house and a hexyurt together

a tiny house and a hexyurt together

This three story off-grid micro-mansion from New Zealand is in another league.

 

From Living Big In A Tiny House:

Completely folded up, it would look very similar to a regular house truck were it not for the two turrets on the back that give a hit of what it becomes. Once parked, the house truck completely folds out and transforms into a fantasy castle.

Castle Truck Folded For Travel

When traveling, the entire house truck is a compact and tidy package. The roof retracts, the sides of the walls fold in, the turrets rotate inwards and it’s ready to go. When compacted for travel mode, the house easily meets all the minimum road clearances and is therefore very easy to travel with. 

The Castle Truck Folds Out Into An Impressive Structure

Once parked however, the castle truck comes to life, expanding to create a beautiful little home for its builders / owners Justin, Jola and their son Piko. The family have a very active lifestyle and the indoor outdoor flow of the house was a central theme in it’s design.

Castle Truck Extending Roof & Solar Panels

The castle-truck is completely off-the grid. It is solar powered, heats water through a mixture of solar panels on the roof, a wetback fire, and gas, and it captures rain water from the roof that is then stored in water tanks below the truck.

Castle Truck Kitchen

Inside the house is just as impressive with beautifully crafted living and working areas providing all the necessary comforts for this busy family. The kitchen has been created as the central feature of the home. All of the appliances are full-sized and the kitchen is a wonderful space for this family who love to cook.

Castle Truck Interior

Perhaps one of the most impressive things about this truck is the amount of storage space that is built into it. Huge wardrobe and cupboard spaces fill up all corners of the house and easily allow enough storage space for all the families’ belongings.

Castle Truck Sleeping Loft

A magical sleeping loft raises up from above the truck and creates a wonderful place for the family to relax and sleep. The wallpaper was created by Jola who spent many hours cutting out music and lyrics from old song books. Each of the songs sing about beauty, love, and sleep and set the mood for this tranquil space.

Castle Truck Roof Balcony

Climb up even further and you will find yourself on top of the world. The castle truck boasts an impressive roof-top balcony, with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, a hammock, solar food dehydrator built into the roof, and even a roof-top bathtub!

Castle Truck Bathroom Turrets

To the rear of the truck you’ll find the bathroom turrets. The turret to the left is the composting toilet, and to the right is the shower turret which also is home to a small washing machine.  In addition to being a very unique feature on the house, this design also has the practical benefit of separating the bathroom from the living space.

Castle Truck Fold Out Kitchen

Justin and Jola have created a truly spectacular home. The engineering that has gone into the house is pure genius and it is both skilfully and beautifully executed. In my mind, this House Truck has single handedly raised the bar on what is possible in small space design.

From collective-evolution:

The average house size has increased substantially in recent decades, and in response, there is a growing movement of people seeking alternatives to large, expensive, and energy-intensive housing. Australia currently holds the record for the country with the largest homes; the average size of a new Australian house increased from 162.2 square metres (1,742 sq feet) in 1984 to 227.6 square metres (2,444 sq feet) in 2003. The average new Australian home is now 10% bigger than even its U.S. equivalent.(1)  Australia is closely followed by the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand for having homes either over or just under 200 metres squared (2,200 sq feet). In contrast, there are a number of countries with significantly smaller homes as the standard, such as: Germany (109 m2), Japan (95 m2), Sweden (83 m2), UK (76 m2), China (60 m2) and Hong Kong (45 m2).

While the trend over the last decade has been for larger homes, the tiny house movement is becoming popular among those wishing to be more sustainable and wanting to live simpler, less consumerist lifestyles. The small house movement is about reducing the overall size of dwellings to less than 1,000 square feet, or approximately 93 square metres. Following the Global Financial Crisis and Hurricane Katrina, both of which helped spark interest in the small home movement, there is a small but growing younger demographic moving towards living with less. While still a relatively minor sector, the tiny house market is set to see more interest over the coming decades. As housing affordability deteriorates in tandem with economic conditions, people will seek alternative ways of living. (2)

One such couple who have embraced the tiny house movement with their passion and skills are Jola and Justin from New Zealand. They have combined the functional and practical with quirky and fun, creating a three level road-worthy house truck replete with its own turrets! The 40 square meter “Castle” truck  is an engineering masterpiece. It includes biofold doors, a loft,  a rooftop bathtub, a large food dehydrator, and a full working kitchen complete with oven cook top and refrigerator. The bathroom facilities include a shower (within one of the turrets) and composting toilet (in the other turret) and a washing machine. Solar panels pull out to provide power for the family and recycled materials have been used throughout the vehicle. (3)

 

Burning Man Kicks Off Outside Lands Hackathon

outside_hacks_logo_2015_hackathon

Last weekend as part of the build up to the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, they threw a Hackathon at Weebly’s playful office in the Financial District. The idea was to make something that would enhance the experience of artists and fans at Outside Lands. I love this idea – a festival that can improve, based on ideas and input from its patrons. Call it Radical Community Reliance.

From Fest300:

This past weekend at the third annual Outside Hacks Hackathon, over 200 developers, designers, and technologists of all kinds gathered at the San Francisco headquarters web hosting company Weebly for the mission of “building something that enhances the experience for artists and/or fans at Outside Lands .”

For the uninitiated, a hackathon is an intense competition where teams of coders attempt to build an app, feature, or program in a limited amount of time (usually between 24 and 48 hours). Outside Hacks allotted its participants a total of 24 hours. One of the organizers of the hackathon Travis Laurendine says “Hackathons are like dance marathons, it’s like a sleepover party, except no one is sleeping.”

At the end of the long and hyper-intense 24 hours – which left many of the coders exhausted – the judges chose the app Dave Sent Me as the Grand Prize Winner. That includes a $5,000 cash prize, an Outside Lands VIP experience, and perhaps most importantly the integration of their app technology into the Outside Lands app.

Dave Sent Me is described as a “personalized Outside Lands schedule recommender.”

travis laurendine

Outside Hacks Organizer and “Entre-pee-neur” Travis Laurendine

New Orleans Burner Travis Laurendine is one of the geniuses behind AirPnP.

According to Fest300, Burning Man was involved in Outside Hacks too, kicking off the event with an address by social alchemist Bear Kittay.

…the symbiotic relationship between technology was a running theme for the weekend and its presence was as noticeable as the sound of hundreds of fingers hitting keyboards and the smell of pizza fueling the coders.

In the opening remarks, artist and social alchemist for Burning Man Bear Kittay addressed the hackers by saying, “We’ve got to remember that the intersection here between entertainment and technology is a really relevant space. It’s been separated for a really long time, but it’s not often we get together with all these brilliant engineering minds to solve some big problems right at the precipice of music and technology. Think about what a really disruptive tool you could create can be, that could really help to transform the way music and technology worlds come together.”

Travis Laurendine, who has witnessed the hackathon significantly grow since its inception in 2013, points out that, “Art is often enabled by technology. A lot of art is dependent on technology. Technology has led us to new art forms. A lot of these people who have the mind for art also have minds for tech, and vice versa. That’s why so many incredible developers are also musicians, because they have the mind for it.”

The incredibly diverse and youthful participants in the hackathon were all united by their passion for music and their drive to make music a better experience for listeners and artists alike. Greg Cerveny, a founder of music startup Groove and one-man team, created his app Dance Commander to facilitate dance parties at the festival by people holding up their phones open on his app displaying a dancing stick figure, thus inviting other festival goers to join in on the dance party. Cerveny says his goal was to give “someone a more awesome time or a really awesome experience because they engaged in a dance social circle.”

[Source: Fest300]

Burning Man has been involved with a hackathon before, a “Burner Hack” conference being held at [freespace] in 2013. It’s not clear if anything was produced from this to help Burners. The event was linked with hacking again this year, with news that at least 200 people pushed to the front of the ticket queue by “routing around” the Ticketfly/Burning Man custom system. In a recent Medium story “Burners Don’t Hack Uber, People Do”, they described a smartphone app called “Burner” that is being used to hack Uber to get free credits.

The intersection of music and technology is a really relevant space. So is Burning Man in that space? Are we really at the precipice – what does that even mean?

Outside Lands is coming up in a couple of weeks. The lineup includes Elton John and Billy Idol.

outside lands 2015-date

Google Earth Brings You Burning Man 3D

Google Earth For Pirates

Google Earth For Pirates

This is pretty cool. You’ll need to install Google Earth, and enable 3D buildings. Then open this KML file.  Zoom in to ground level and hold down the arrow keys, you can walk through Burning Man in 3D. You really get a sense of how vast it is when you see The Man in the distance and head towards it. It is from Cargo Cult, Burning Man 2013, although the particular day the image was taken is unknown.

From the Google Earth Blog:

Burning Man goes 3D

Over the last week or so, Google have pushed out a significant amount of new 3D imagery. If you don’t have it already, be sure to grab our our map of areas covered so far.

One of the most interesting new additions is Black Rock City, Nevada, location of the Burning Man festival that we covered back in August and later saw animated gifs of that Skybox Imaging created. The actual festival only lasts a couple of weeks each year and is in a slightly different location each year, with different street layouts and physical structures. The imagery was essentially out of date just days after the photography was captured. There was a lot of movement, with many cars, trucks, caravans and even light aircraft moving around. There were new structures going up, tents and other structures with moving coverings and intricate shapes. All of this causes problems for the technique used to capture the imagery, which involves imagery captured from multiple angles during several passes, that works best on solid, unmoving structures with no overhangs.

To fly to Black Rock City in Google Earth, open this KML file. Be sure to turn on the 3D buildings layer.

[Update: As pointed out by Ron in the comments, the 3D imagery is from the 2013 event.]

Black Rock City tent
One of several structures with intricate detail that Google must have put extra effort into modelling.

You can also type “Black Rock City NV” into Google Earth’s search (no need for any KML file). The satellite imagery is becoming more detailed every year, and this is just what is being released for free to the public.

Creepily, all the people are missing from the city. Wonder if there was some behind the scenes facial recognition going on, as all the Burners were slurped out by the Artilect in between its trippy dreams.

deep dreams animation

Wake Up, Neo – There Is No Counter-Culture

Just found this thought-provoking essay from 2013 by James Curcio at Modern Mythology. I have edited it down to highlight the most relevant passages for Burners, emphasis ours:

“Two weeks at Burning Man may be fun, but try doing it for a year and chances are you’ll come back telling me what hell is like.”

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Even by definition, the idea of a counterculture expresses itself as a negation. It is arguable if a counterculture could possibly exist without the myths of the mainstream. As such it is a product of the market, and exists only insofar as it serves a function within that market.

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Yet there are ideals which have been part of various vibrant (if short-lived) countercultures, which rest close to the heart of the creative process as structured by the myth of the individual: unfettered self-expression, freedom from the externally imposed social boundaries, irreverent humor, an element of egalitarianism mixed liberally with pirate capitalism, maybe even a sense of pragmatic community. History shows that these ideals are quickly lost in such movements, however, oftentimes as soon as they gain a true pulpit. The largest expression of that in recent history is of course the now somewhat idealized 1960s, a clear view of which has been obscured through a haze of pot-smoke and partisan politics.
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baby softHowever, “counterculture bubbles,” Temporary Autonomous Zones and so on are regularly coming into and out of being. Countercultures remain rather toothless in regard to having any capacity to sustain themselves outside the context of the society they stand in opposition to, instead utilizing a self-referential social currency of cool-points, sprinkled liberally with pointless elitism and a side of Who Gives A Fuck? One need merely look at the transformation of musical and sub-cultural genres founded on rebellion: punk, rock and roll, and the like, and what they have transformed into during the decades of their existence. In this domain, the territory between aesthetic, ideals, and social movement becomes blurry at best…
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This is not to point an accusatory finger, but rather to show the essential dependence of the counterculture upon the mainstream, because they are not self-sustaining, and every culture produces a counter-culture in its shadow, just as every Self produces an Other. Any counterculture. Punk, underground, beatnik, hippy, psychedelic, straight edge, or occult culture all stand as the cardboard cut-out Shadows of corporate America.
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They will be co-opted the moment their shtick becomes profitable. It doesn’t matter that these ideologies have little in common. It is the fashion or mystique that gets sold. When all an ideology really boils down to is an easy to replicate aesthetic, how could they not? “Cool” is what customers pay a premium for, along with the comfort of a world with easy definitions and pre-packaged, harmless rebellions. Psychedelic and straight edge can share the same rack in a store if the store owner can co-brand the fashions, and people can brand themselves “green” through their purchasing power without ever leaving those boxes or worrying about the big picture. Buy nothing day, AdBusters, etc. ad nauseum all utilize this principle. Without laying the material, mythic, and social groundwork for a new society, counterculture cannot be a bridge; it almost invariably leads back to the mainstream, though not necessarily without first making its mark and pushing some new envelope.

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Where do we draw the line? As Yogi Bhajan put it, “money is as money does.” The question is how individuals utilize or leverage the potential energy represented by that currency, and what ends it is applied to. Hard nosed books on business such as Drucker’s Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices say exactly the same thing, in a less epigrammatic, Yoda-like way: profit is not a motive, it is a means…

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Though this “revolution” certainly didn’t start in the 1960s, there we have one of the clearest instances of what good bed-fellows mass marketing and manufacturing make when branded under the zeitgeist of the counterculture. The moment that psychedelic culture gained a certain momentum, Madison Avenue chewed it up and spit it out in 7up ads. If a movement gains momentum, it becomes a market. This was used to sell these “psychedelic clothes” to a wider market. When people bought those hip clothes to make a statement, whose pockets were they lining? It’s a revolving door of product tie-ins, and it all feeds on the needs of the individual, embodied in a sub-culture. The rise of Rolling Stone magazine could also be seen as an example of this; a counterculture upstart turned mainstream institution.
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Fashion embodies a state of mind, a culture. But it is not that culture. An example of this can be seen in Harley Davidson driving lawyers in their forties. As the company rose to prominence in the 1920s and beyond, Harley Davidson developed its brand off of what they sold, functionally, yet in later years that became a shtick that was re-marketed to people that needed not an alternate form of transportation, but instead what Harley Davidson had come to “mean.” The bottom line here, as discussed previously: we live in a culture where appearances count for a lot more than reality.
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Those who position themselves as extreme radicals within the counter culture framework merely disenfranchise themselves through an act of inept transference, finding anything with a dollar sign on it questionable. To this view, anyone that’s made a red cent off of their work is somehow morally bankrupt. This mentality can only end one way: they will wind up howling after the piece of meat on the end of someone else’s string, working by day for a major corporation, covering their self-loathing at night in tattoos, and body-modifications they can hide. That is, unless they lock themselves in a cave or try to start an agrarian commune.
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Growth on its own is never a clear indicator that the underlying ideals of a movement will remain preserved. If history has shown anything, it is that successful movements lose substance either through shallowing their core values until they become an empty, parroted aesthetic, as with most musical scenes and their transition from content to fashion; or the movement’s core values are so emphasized that the meaning within them is lost through literalism, as we can see in the history of the world’s major religions. The early Christian Gnostic traditions of “love thy neighbor,” “all is one,” and the agape orgies were replaced by the Roman Orthodoxy and the authority provided through the ultimate union of State and Religion. The hippies traded in their sandals and beat up VWs for SUVs and overpriced Birkenstocks. It oftentimes seems that succeeding too well can be the greatest curse to befall a movement, and it is a well-documented fact of cultural trends that when the pendulum swings far in one direction, it often turns into its opposite without having the common decency to wait to swing back the other way…
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1-BUILLThus, the utopian dreams of most countercultures are rendered somewhat toothless by the brilliantly co-optive myths of capitalist culture. One might hope this is a temporary state of affairs, as the hippy movement hoped that primal territorial and ideological conflicts are some sort of prolonged hold-back rather than the underlying reality of the human condition. Regardless, hope alone does not bring change. The paradigms that root a culture in ideological stasis are too strong for any single “revolutionary” or grass-roots movement to effectively shift them all at once – all that results from demonstrative radicalization is further polarization, disenfranchisement and estrangement. If, on the other hand, people find alternatives that truly work for them, which allow for new cultural possibilities (and blind-spots), they will likely spread by virtue of their efficacy. If social groups can establish greater sufficiency, they become less dependent on the structures of government and business, though it’s unlikely they’ll be able to escape the establishment of their own versions of the same. It almost seems that such things can only happen blindly, naturally, as bees pollinate flowers.
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So we come to it.  
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As counterculture scenes grow and enter the market place – all the elements of it have been defined, commodified, and made replicable. This is precisely the same process that occurs from one generation to the next. It isn’t that any subculture – or any “scene” for that matter – needs to be revitalized once it has reached this stage. They are all dead shells, ideas which at one point in time served a purpose, and are now just fetishes. 
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Perhaps the line between “Home” and “Defaultia” was always destined to get blurrier, as the amount of money involved increases.

Downsize Your RV, Upsize Your Cool Factor

gidget beach

This is how we do it Down Under

Thanks to Burner SnowAngel for sending this in. Playa ready?

It may look small, but the Queen size bed fits a 6’6 person. The front slides out, the grill slides out, the fridge slides out, it even has solar panels.

Find out more at thegidget.com.au. If anyone brings one of these to a Burn please send us a photo.

Gidget-Teardrop-Trailergidget grill gidget out gidget closed