You could make a strong case for this vehicle being barely recognizable as such. The dimensions, fenestration and over spatial configuration give good clues that this space may have once been a school bus, but the finishes, furnishings and built-ins go above and beyond bare-bones adaptive reuse.
Architecture student Hank Butitta was sick of drafting imaginary buildings in studio courses destined never to be built, and sought (with help from his younger brother Vince) to steer his education in a more hands-on direction.
For his final thesis project at the University of Minnesota, Hank bought a bus for $3,000, added $6,000 to improve it, and spent fifteen weeks creating this amazing multifunctional mobile home.
We should start with the evolution of the programmatic diagram, described and illustrated in simple terms: “The even spacing of the window bays allow for the volume to be broken down into modular units of 28 inches square, leaving an aisle that is also 28 inches wide. The modular units are then grouped to create four primary zones: Bathroom, Kitchen, Seating, and Sleeping.”
From there, a series of rules and strategies evolved, like: keep the space as open as possible, so the 225 square feet available area does not get broken down into cramped compartments. The result is a limitation of objects built above the bottom edge of each window and an open-feeling floor plan. Hank also “developed a thin wall system integrating structure, insulation, electrical, lighting, and facing, leaving the interior open for occupation. The ceiling is covered in plywood flexed by compression, and the floor is reclaimed gym flooring, complete with 3-point line.”
Throughout the project, there are clever and deceptively simple ways to redeploy structure to address different needs on demand, like a bed system that allows for different sleeping configurations, and seats that with secret flip-up and slide-out panels to allow for further lounging or additional overnight guests. Storage is tucked and hidden throughout, integrated into other built-ins wherever spare space was available. The detailing throughout is minimal and consistent, but don’t let that fool you: a great deal of thought and work went into that apparent simplicity.