Decoding Design

Cricket: A mobile basecamp designed by a former NASA architect

Cricket: A mobile basecamp designed by a former NASA architect

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Designing better living quarters for astronauts helped an architect create a compact yet comfortable camper for his own family.

After a few less than stellar camping trips with his young sons, Garrett Finney, a former architect for NASA, decided to create a compact and efficient yet comfortable camper suitable for a family. The Cricket is a space saving mini trailer inspired by Finney's years working on the International Space Station (ISS) and his adventures in camping with his young children.

Finney's work on the habitation module, or living quarters, of the ISS helped him determine how much space a group of people need to live in reasonable comfort. The resulting 15 foot long by 6.5 foot wide by almost 7 foot tall trailer is compact enough to fit in a garage and at 1300 pounds, the Cricket can be towed by most standard cars.

The Cricket is modular and made to order, embracing just in time technology while encouraging campers to take just what they need and not everything that they'd like. According to Finney's philosophy, the smallest footprints are the greenest. Finney states that the lightweight size and aerodynamic shape of his camper also translate into better fuel economy. The camper is constructed of standardized aluminum, wood and steel parts. The long life cycles of the materials make up for the lack of recycled content.

Cricket's name comes from the mechanism that raises and lowers its roof, which resembles the jumping legs of the insect. An essential feature which expands the interior space, the roof takes about 20 seconds to raise and about the same strength needed to lift your car trunk. Finney is also developing an integral loft made of fabric for a child sleep space.

Watch a flipbook movie of the camper below:

Image: Cricket Trailer

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure