A Rooftop Hotel Capsule For Eco-Minded Nomads [Slideshow]

Nevermind the penthouse, we’ll take the pod, please!

The future-fetishizing minds over at Nau architects are up with another wacky concept that’ll probably see the light of day precisely never, but we’ll humor the fantasy all the same, ’cause it’s kinda’ awesome: It’s a green energy-powered temporary apartment tamped into a tiny, 28-foot-long capsule that, on a whim, can travel from the rooftops of New York to the tree canopies of the Amazon.


“Contemporary citizens want mobility, while treading softly on the environment.”

The “Living Roof” squeezes all the requisite amenities of a hotel room into what looks like a cross between a giant bonbon and something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and works like a mini power plant, producing more energy than it consumes, through wind turbines, solar panels, and rainwater collection. The Living Roof is ‘intended for urban rooftops,’ the architects write, but can be transported “into the savanna” — or anywhere else for that matter — at a moment’s notice. The idea: to help “resolve one of the paradoxes of modern life: the contemporary citizen seeks mobility, but also wants to tread softly on the environment.”

It’s not hard to imagine a market for this kind of thing, pie-and-the-sky though it seems: We envision cashed-up greenies, who want penthouse views without the corollary carbon footprint, renting it for their cushy, crunchy vacations. A bonus: The interior transforms at the press of a button from a lounge to a sleeping pod to an office, so we could even picture suits using it as a pied-à-terre on extended work trips.

The concept’s got a big flaw, though, and that’s that it doesn’t think far enough into the future. As it stands, the Living Roof would have to be air-lifted from one destination to the next — which would partly offset whatever environmental brownie points you scored powering your toilet with PV cells. But if this thing could fly (on some kind of tomorrowland clean-energy goo, natch), oooh, baby, you’d have yourself one hell of a hotel concept, one that’d find takers in a twinkle, from the eco-freak jetset to James Bond.


About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.