Kathy Teng

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2016




transient housing, architecture, highway, road trip, truck drivers, transport




Architectural Engineering | Architectural Technology | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


The cross-country highway and road trip are deeply rooted in the American psyche, supported by the rapid growth in ownership of automobiles by American families since the 1940s, establishing a sense of freedom and leisure in their mobile lifestyles. However, other highway users have less control and freedom over their daily routine. These users are part of a vast network of international commerce reliant on the long haul.

The time long-haul truck drivers are away from home is prolonged, with the end of each day spent sleeping in fixed truck cabins and eating at banal truck stops. “ ‘I can be talking to a guy one day, and then be gone a thousand miles and come back two days later, and the guy can’t imagine what I just did’… Whatever his territory, the trucker’s world is long and skinny, the width of a highway, punctuated with warehouses, factories, and oases called truck stops.”

This thesis reconsiders the truck stop along the freeway, by studying the transport network at multiple scales, including the truck drivers’ daily routines and their live-work practices. By proposing a new truck stop prototype, it functions as a core infrastructure of the future mobile metropolis and transient lifestyle. The speculative prototypes transform into a new American landscape along the freeways, seeking to offer transitory community to those on the road, including their families, in the near future.

The truck stop’s narrow focus on providing limited and costly services to truck drivers, constitutes a missed opportunity to re-conceive of such infrastructure, as well as the truck cabin itself as flexible and transitory. Responding to existing technical and hauling criteria, “the private room on the wheel” seeks to optimize the truck cabin and plug into a new docking mechanism. Connected by the existing American highway network, this new infrastructure will better address truck drivers’ needs, and also promote a transient lifestyle based on radical mobility.


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