Mobile, Modern & Modular: 15 Capsules for Off-Grid Living

DIY Hermit Houses

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Originally designed for an outdoor festival in the Netherlands, these ‘Hermit Houses’ by Cloud Collective can easily be installed in any location in just two days. Various models offer different layouts and sizes, with the Abé prototype popping up to about 150 square feet. They’re flat-pack, designed with 3D software and highly customizable. The designers also offer prefab construction kits and open-source manuals so you can build your own.

Isolee Retreat

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Inspired by cupboards, the Isolee Retreat by Tjep features giant wooden shutters that stand three stories tall, hinging back and forth to either open the house to the landscape or close it up for privacy, travel or protection from storms. Concrete support poles are concealed within the four legs to anchor it to the land, and a tree-like structure of solar panels rotates to follow the sun.


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Referred to as a moon base on earth, the MercuryHouseOne by Architecture and Vision definitely has a space-age feel with its rounded shell made of white marble. Designed as a mobile lounge, it can be set up in various configurations to accommodate different uses. It’s powered by solar cells and features the latest lighting, video and sound technologies “to create a unique experience inside.”

Pump House Lakeside Retreat

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Branch Studio Architects created the Pump House as an off-grid rustic retreat set on the banks of a lake, equipping it with rain barrels, solar panels and a wood-burning stove. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the lake, and the compact but cozy house includes a bedroom, living room, kitchen and plenty of storage.

The Observatory

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A pair of charred-wood shelters serve as temporary artist studios that travel across the UK throughout the year, allowing artists a tranquil place to work with constantly changing scenery. Each angular module has its own function, the study and the workshop, and is fixed onto a steel base with caster wheels manually operated by a crank handle. That enables the artist-in-residency to pivot the shelters toward the best views in any location.