For his final project, architecture student Hank Butitta fulfilled the wanderlust fantasies of millions of Americans by converting an old school bus into the "ultimate road trip vehicle." The redesigned school bus is retrofitted with skylights, LED lighting, and even reclaimed gymnasium flooring, and Butitta is taking the vehicle on a 5,000-mile test drive across America.
A recent architecture grad from the University of Minnesota, Butitta says he was spurred to build the modern mobile home as an antidote to his disillusionment with working on imaginary architecture school projects that were never built. He bought the bus off of Craigslist for $3,000 and with the help of photographer Justin Evidon and brother Vince, invested $6,000 to retrofit the bus–a fraction of the cost of a mobile home.
To give the 225 square-foot bus interior the illusion of spaciousness, Butitta constructed all furniture lines below the bottom edges of the windows to preserve panoramic views and to let in natural light; for privacy, he installed drop-down translucent insulation panels to hang over the windows at night. He also replaced the emergency hatches with skylights to maximize the amount of natural light. At night, the space is lit by dimmable, LED strip lighting tucked into the reveal where the curved ceiling meets the wall.
Since the end of July, Butitta has been on the road for a month-long road trip to “test the functionality of the bus.” The 5,000-mile trip will traverse a diverse range of national parks and cities, meeting and picking up friends and families along the way. Now halfway through his journey, you can check out where he’s been on his blog.
Images via Hank Bought a Bus