Mobile Food as a Study in Architecture


Tamale food cart created by NSAD student Arnulfo Rodriguez

SAN DIEGO, CA –A design studio class at New School of Architecture and Design (NSAD) headed by instructor Hector Perez explored the unusual typology of human-propelled food carts. The project was done in collaboration with another NSAD design studio lead by NSAD instructor Casey Mahon that explored digital manipulations of surface. The integrated assignments challenged the students (in their second year of studies in the Bachelor of Architecture program) to explore the interaction possibilities of food carts in a parking lot near San Diego’s downtown ball park.

The hypothetical scenario –  in which sections of the parking lot could be designated as spaces for the food carts during tailgating events –  encouraged students to evaluate the relationships between sites and projects (the parking lot) and social dynamics (the tailgating scene). Such explorations of function, scale and site form the basis of any architecture or design project, and allows students to develop skills they can use in the future for projects as small as a food cart and as large as a skyscraper.

Tamale food cart created by NSAD student Arnulfo Rodriguez

Sushi food cart developed by NSAD student Jonathan Chau

As many of our readers may know, my background is not in the culinary arena or even in journalism…its architecture. Due to the recession and the fast drop in the industry, I was forced to look for another field to work in. Luckily for me, I found the mobile food industry as it was picking up steam across the country.

Due to the fact that architecture and urban planning schools are looking at the mobile food industry for their students to investigate and to hone their skills on, means that the industry should not fear the label of being a short lived fad. Instead, mobile food should be looked at as a trend in the food industry that is growing and will even morph into areas that have yet to be explored.


2017-03-31T08:43:02+00:00 By |Trends|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.

One Comment

  1. Robert Kronrad Aug 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Hi Richard,
    I am so very impressed with your work in this field… Thank you… I have been designing foor carts, trucks and kiosks for over 30 years now and the company I work for has done some of the most unusual projects please visit our web site to see what we do and I hope one day we will meet in person.
    Best regards,

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