Could This Solar-Paneled Mobile Home Save Greece?

Kelly Chan Kelly Chan

This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award in the Architecture + Economic Crisis category. See the full list of winners here.

That the name @kinito resembles a Twitter handle is not a coincidence. Architect Esri Krouska wanted her project to adapt to each individual “user,” much like a Twitter account, and her peripatetic house invokes the inherent mobility of the quippy social media outlet. Yet despite the playfulness of its name, @kinito responds to a very serious problem. When the economic crisis in Greece reached its peak in late 2011, Krouska sought to imagine creative ways to survive the harsh austerity measures plaguing his country. The result was @kinito, “an autonomous movable house unit that you take with you depending on the needs and the season of the year,” explained Krouska. .

When Krouska designed @kinito in 2011, she was directly responding to the realities of a country in serious financial turmoil. She saw real estate taxes spiking and mounting electricity taxes resulting in powerless homes. “As things were getting worse, I started imagining Athens full of abandoned and dark buildings,” Krouska elaborated. She conceived of @kinito as a way to quite literally escape the pervasive problems of recession-hit Greece. She imagined “new sustainable settlements” with “excellent passive insulation and … renewable energy sources” atop the city’s abandoned buildings. Immense solar panels would generate energy from Greece’s sunshine, and when the seasons change, the @kinito unit can be transplanted to the Grecian countryside.

One of the key aspects of Krouska’s design is the desirability of the @kinito unit. She wanted to give the project a mutable identity “to make it easily accessible and imaginable to the client.” Taking inspiration from customizable brand-name sneakers, Krouska imagined his mobile units as objects that can be built and customized online to suit the tastes of individual clients. “What I love about this project is that most of the people that see it … want their own @kinito,” she explained. “They like the idea of this stylish moving house,” she added, likely referring to the eclectic light fixtures, fireplaces, furniture, and carpeting she imagines inside her prototype unit. The project undoubtedly has an air of fantasy to it, but Krouska has hopes that her scheme can someday be realized: “I hope that one day, I’ll ride my own @kinito on the mountains.”