Student Converts School Bus into Mobile Home and Drives Around Country
For his final project, graduate architecture student Hank Butitta bought an old school bus on Craigslist for $3,000. 15 weeks and $6,000 of improvements later, Hank and his two friends were ready to embark on a 5,000 mile (8,046 km) journey across the United States.
The 225 sq. ft mobile home features reclaimed gym flooring and dimmable LED lighting. Using the 28 inch wide windows as a modular guide (the aisle is also 28 in. wide), the bus is divided into four primary zones: bathroom, kitchen, seating, and sleeping. The space can be configured in a variety of combinations, depending on need.
At 10 miles per gallon, the school bus is not the most efficient vehicle, but it’s an unforgettable way to travel and one that is sure to bring Hank and the team experiences for a lifetime. Below you will find images of the bus and additional information on the design.
For all additional details, be sure to check out hankboughtabus.com to track their journey, donate and stay in touch with the crew.
Envisioned with a nod to the tiny house movement, the project was a way to show how building a small structure with simple detailing can be more valuable than drawing a complex project that is theoretical and poorly understood.
The primary goals during the design phase was to develop a living space in 225 sq ft that was as open and unrestricted as possible. To accomplish this, Hank set self-imposed guidelines that eliminated any furniture or structure above the bottom edge of the window. This allows the space to remain continuous, and maintains clear sight-lines from one end of the space to the other, even while seated.
In order to help remove the inhabitant from the reminders and connotations of its former life as a school bus, entry into the space is reoriented to the rear. Upon entering the space, the occupant first encounters the bathroom. In this zone, one side of the aisle is walled off to enclose the toilet.
The kitchen occupies two window bays and currently features a foot-pump sink as its only true utility. There are plans for one of the bays to become a chest fridge, and for a gas cooktop to be installed, but for now they are surviving using a cooler and a portable propane stove.
The seating space is the most versatile. It occupies four bays so is also the largest. In its neutral state, the zone features four large seats on either side of the aisle. The two seats nearest the kitchen occupy the space over the wheel wells so they have no storage underneath. The faces of these seats fold out into the aisle to create a platform that can be covered with neighboring cushions to create a queen-sized sleeping area.
The next seat down on either side of the aisle can be raised or lowered to create a table surface for eating or working. This allows for up to four people to have table space without having to climb over each other. The final seat features a large lockable storage bay underneath. The flexibility of this zone allows it to accommodate a large number of conditions and situations.
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