HMH Boothy


aluminum, plexiglass, wood, steel, electrical system, 85 in x 33.5 in x 33.5 in

HMH: Boothy is a small, moveable and convertible aluminum structure that creates a public point for exchange, meeting, or presentation. It resembles a glass-and-metal Bell “Airlight” Superman-style model telephone booth that was a generic form in North America from the 1950s until the removal of public payphones. In both its actual everyday uses and its appearances in popular culture, the enclosed phone booth is a place marked above all by potential:  not only through its point-to-point communication functions and its practical function as a meeting place or place of exchange and a place of minimal privacy within public space, but also as a place in which transformations might take place (Superman) and a point of connection to expanded states (The Matrix). Telephone booths are also often used as temporary shelter, and in its exploration of reconfigurable, portable space, Boothy relates to my Home Made Home project for small space design and building small dwellings. The title Boothy links the vernacular public phone booth form to the Gaelic building tradition of the bothy — rustic wilderness huts that are also governed by a code of shared use. It also relates to the intention of a previous work like Shell, in that it intervenes in the threshold between public and private and the power structures that both generic forms (phone booth and bus shelter) imply. 

The phone-booth-like structure is convertible and expandable: its side panels may be switched out to provide more or less enclosure, visibility, or possibilities for display. Different interchangeable countertops may be installed in order to use the booth as a service kiosk or display vitrine. The booth’s basic electrical system is powered by a solar panel, and when not in use, a set of wheels may be attached in order to move the structure.

Germaine Koh, Home Made Home: Boothy, 2017, 34 x 34 x 84, aluminum structure with interchangeable panels.