Creative Collision Blog

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Designs architecture. Writer and blogger. Also a freelance architecture and fashion photographer.




Here's a blog post talking about how I did a small project of my own - building a car bed in my Nissan Tiida hatchback for small road trips.

Pro-tip: always reverse into the best view.
Ever since going camping in my friend's Honda Fit - a relatively small hatchback - I started thinking of what I could do with my own car. My workmate also removed the back seats from his van and created a plywood haven with a kitchenette, providing inspiration. Staying in Airbnbs and motels/backpackers can get a bit samey and I've always wanted to give the character-filled camp sites a go without the drama of a tent.

The Honda Fit has the advantage of having the back seats lay down flush with the boot floor, so add a foam mattress and you're sorted. My Nissan Tiida is a different story - the seats laid down are quite a bit higher than the boot so it needs something to raise it up.

The Tiida is longer than it looks and with the front seats pushed as far forward as possible, there is just enough length for me lying down. Anyone shorter should be fine!

The car bed in it's set up state, mattress in. You can see the storage space underneath.
Chuck bags up the front, less used items underneath, the arm rests/door pulls hold our phones. 
Putting my architect skills to good use, I measured it up and started drawing.

Lying down in the car, I could get a sense of how much room I would have to sleep. Headspace is an issue, but it is passable. The simple X-shaped baffle support was the brain child of my fellow architect Han. Highlights the importance of bouncing ideas off others. One of my engineer friends thought up something far too complicated. Go architects!
I ended up purchasing a single sheet of 1.2 x 2.4m plywood (12mm thick) and cutting them into panels. Then a few cut outs and some sanding later, it was all done!

A bit of planning before prefabrication, always best to use material as efficiently as possible. I also made sure the plywood was E0 grade which means that almost has no toxic formaldehyde emissions as we would be cooped up in the car with it.
All it needs is a bit of set up and a thin self-inflating mattress. Unfortunately the head space isn't very much but it's alright as a sleeping platform. Feels like a capsule hotel in Japan. The upside of building it up a platform is that we get storage space inside the baffle construction.

A few details: we made 'curtains' with suction cups to stick to the inside of the windows. For the back seat windows we opened them up a crack for cross ventilation and put mosquito nets over the doors.

None of it is permanent, it's just a few plywood panels that can be removed through the side door. To drive, we just slide the panels on top of each other and slide the front seats back to driving position.

Now we can do weekend road trips easy as!


Oakley Creek (Te Auaunga) is one of Auckland’s longest urban streams
It's not often I haven't heard of a place in my own backyard, and the Oakley Creek Waterfall is certainly one of them being only 12 minutes drive from home. I went to investigate and was not disappointed.

It is the only natural waterfall in Central Auckland, and hidden away. It's small and peaceful, but being fairly secluded, it is recommended you go there with a walking buddy. Bring a picnic, it seems to be the way to do it.

There are multiple ways to go onto the walkway and it's all worth a bit of exploring - the signs aren't too helpful. And the typical Auckland question: where do you park?! Google Maps show the track and it depends on where you start from. There are plenty of side streets off Great North Road, some which feed directly into the walkway behind people's houses. You almost feel like you're in their backyard sometimes, for lack of a fence.

A map of it's features, visit the Friends of Oakley Creek website for the full version.
Oakley Creek is like the water spine of the isthmus, going from north Hillsborough near the Manukau Harbour, through Mt Roskill, Waterview (where all the motorway works are occurring) and out to the Waitemata Harbour. Locals may have experienced parts of it, such as the stream running past Mt Roskill Grammar, or the riparian areas in Unitec. Over the years a nice walking track and viewing platform has been constructed to allow better appreciation of this natural habitat, running roughly parallel to Great North Road from the motorway onramp.

Swimming is possible by reports of people jumping in, but I couldn't find any official advice to this. Common sense tells me the stream runs through the length of urban Auckland, so it would accumulate things along the way. Perhaps not swimming there a few days after the rain is advisable which is what we would do at the beaches fringing the city.

The Friends of Oakley Creek (est. 2004) have taken upon themselves to "protect, enhance and restore the ecological health" of the Oakley Creek Environs. They have a map of the walkway, as well as educational events that promote its environment needs. A nice half-day adventure if you're up for it!


I was struck by inspiration this morning just as I was about to leave the computer for sunnier things (this just after the end of Daylight Savings after all). John Cage and his "Mushroom Book" of 1972 is a collection of drawings and poetry in a folio format. What caught my attention aside from the realistic renderings of fungi was his lithograph prints.

It's as if the mind and its ponderings fell onto a piece of paper, but as a print, these thoughts and manuscripts were purposely prepared then pressured into the paper. Sometimes there would be a map-like drawing to accompany it.

My journals have always been very text based - it's how I process things. Sure there are visual elements, but I'm keen to try this much less ordered (or ordered chaos) approach as a reflection of my own thought process - sometimes muddled, overlapping and reiterative.

For more on the exhibition in New York City, see Hyperallergic.