Sliding House 26.01.09

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video The movie shows the outer frame sliding over the three fixed buildings

words Anna Bates

This house slides. A 20-tonne "shell" moves over three fixed buildings like a train on tracks, so the living environment can be transformed from open-air or glass enclosure to sheltered, shaded space.

Designed by London-based studio dRMM, the part-prefab home consists of a glasshouse, main house, open space and annexe aligned on a track. A garage, off the track, adjoins the open space, creating a courtyard. The wooden shell slides along the track, offering a number of different configurations of inside or outside space, as you can see in the video above. The shell was designed to complement the timber frame "shed" vernacular of the surrounding farmhouse buildings, and is accented by a red rubber membrane. At the click of a remote control, the shell can move across the building in six minutes, providing woodland creatures don't get in the way.

Positioned over the glasshouse, the insulated timber and steel frame transforms the space into an enclosed, private living space. It also makes a little porch over the adjacent patch of grass and a tree. As the shed slides left, the glasshouse is exposed, and the open-air courtyard is covered, allowing cut-out sections of the shell to "frame" bits of sky.

dRMM left the tracks open to allow the client to extend the rails and add a swimming pool in the future. The site is built as a retirement home in Suffolk, UK.


The courtyard is open to the elements


The frame moves over the courtyard


The courtyard is covered and the sky is framed by cut-out sections in the frame

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