Six Months In

Project 001 is a bit of a departure for me. I've been engrossed in designing large public works buildings (schools, community centers, libraries, etc.) over the last several years, and I've been wanting to get back to working with a smaller scale and design something without clients and building codes. While those things make the world we live in go around, especially for architects like me, they are both something I would like to ignore for a while. 

After my family vacation last summer in Yellowstone National Park, I decided to finish up my architectural license so I could get going on Spacehop's first project. We hauled a trailer for 2,600 miles and lived in it for two weeks. It gave us lots of opportunities to figure the process out and see what worked and what didn't. There were a lot of things that didn't work, and we were surprised that even though the trailer we took was decades old, many of the problem remain unsolved today by modern designers. Large, white fiberglass boxes roll down the highways with the same problems as previous generations of travel trailers. I have to wonder why.

I solve problems for a living as an architect. I listen to clients, interpret, add to and take away ideas to ultimately create a building that suits their needs. After rigorously researching both classic and modern travel and teardrop trailers, I am convinced that most trailer designers don't do this. They seem to regurgitate the same shit that is designed for the lowest common denominator year after year. That isn't always a bad thing, I guess. A lot of people seem to be just fine with it. But I'm not, and I want more out the experience. A lot more.

I've decided to combine two of my favorite things – architecture and being outdoors on an adventure with my family. Over the last six months I've been researching and designing a travel trailer for my family that will enable us to do what we love even more. I'm not done designing yet, but it's time I start sharing the process. 

There are many problems with the current offering of trailers on the market today, and I'll be talking about those in future posts. I aim to solve as many of those problems as I can to make it easy and enjoyable to get away. I'm still working through the last ones I've identified and am exited at how my progress has been going so far. While I don't want to divulge all of my design details here, I do want to start showing off what I've been up to with this project and I hope to bring you all along on it with me. Maybe you'll get as excited as I have about the possibilities of what this trailer will be, how it will function, and how it will become a vehicle for enriching our lives through travel and adventure.

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This project exists for these reasons:

  1. This is about removing the barriers and excuses we come up with to keep ourselves on our couch watching TV at home in our comfort zones; to get us outside and connected to nature, adventure, and experience. As a parent, this is a top priority for my wife and I to provide to our children.
  2. This is about enabling us to get into the great outdoors by providing a shelter that is a complete package; to travel without the need for making plans in advance. It is something that will allow us to get out without having to pack up our stuff hours or days in advance.
  3. This is about solving the problems typically found with all trailers and camping that make it not fun to do because it's so much work. It's about making it easy so we can spend our time away from home doing the things we want to do without stress and the hard work of setting up and tearing down camp. 

In future posts I'll talk more about these things and the practical problems I've defined as the ones that must be solved in a modern travel trailer. I hope you'll join me.

What do you think are the worst things about camping and/or travel trailers that need to be solved? I'd love to hear it. Write yours in the comments below.