February 2008 Archive
We reported last year on retailer IKEA's prefab homes. More from The Guardian:
Britain's first "Ikealand" opened its metal-panelled pine doors yesterday in an experiment designed to spread the company's off-the-shelf principle from wardrobes and sofas to entire houses.
Seen as a way for them to get onto the property ladder, these houses will sell for $260,000 for a two bedroom townhouse. Assembled in a factory nearby, they get to the site ready to be bolted together and take about 16 weeks from start to completion.
I did a little research on prices in the area; these look competitive.
author: Martin Wainwright
publication: The Guardian (UK)
length: 400 words
publication date: January 31, 2008
If any of Trulove's books are an indicator, PreFab Now should include the state of the art in contemporary prefabricated home design. The promo copy hints at this; "Architects are using new construction technologies and materials to create complex designs that make every prefabricated home look custom- designed.". The book also "addresses the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a prefab home over a custom-built one [and] covers cost, sustainability, and durability."
To help keep track of books we cover on Prefabcosm, we've added a new page: Prefab books.
title: Prefab Now
author: James Trulove
release date: Mar 2007
list price: $39.95
details: 192 pages, hardcover
publisher: Collins Design
From last month's Boston Globe:
...a three-bedroom, 2-bath home built in pieces in a factory and assembled onsite in less than a day - opens to the public today...
The full article has the details.
author: Michael Prager
length: 1,250 words
publication date: January 20, 2008
Every now and then, we come across an item that isn't prefab but that we think is worth sharing. Here's one from Yanko Design:
Don’t you love the days following a rainstorm? The streets seem to gleam, the air is cleaner, and people are generally in a better mood to finally see the sun again. The only thing that sucks are all those wet benches and chairs. Fortunately clever designers (the Korean design gang) came up with a simple solution. The slats on these benches can rotate to the dry side by cranking the handle.
There are a few more details about designer Sung Woo Park over at Coroflot.
what: The Rolling Bench
designers: Sungwoo Park, Yoonha Paick, Jongdeuk Son, Banseok Yoon, Eunbi Cho & Minjung Sim
details: not yet for sale
Inhabitat's Prefab Friday discussed the Rapson Greenbelt:
Modernist architect Ralph Rapson has managed to reinterpret a 60-year old design with the green panache of a 21st century prefab...
Materialicio.us provided even more photos of the Maison Tropicale in London.
The New York Times reports:
The social event of the season in Locust Point, a quiet enclave of tidy family homes along the East Bronx waterfront, took place just over a week ago when a crane lifted two 18-ton halves of a prefabricated house off flatbed trailers and stacked them like Legos on an empty lot....
title: Legos for the Grown-Ups
author: Jennifer Bleyer
length: 425 words
publication date: February 10, 2008
(Hat tip: Prefab Dweller)
From Apartment Therapy:
If you're heading out to the desert for Modernism Week and are curious about prefabs, you've got a chance to see a drop dead gorgeous one.... The Desert Prefab house has been called possibly the most beautiful prefabricated building this side of the Pacific, and it's for sale!
More detail on the house from the LA Times:
It is the house that won new respect for factory-built prefab housing: Leo Marmol's sleek, solar-powered, steel-and-glass Desert House in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. It has been Marmol's weekend house since he built it in 2005, but it is now listed for sale for $1.85 million....
And a sales pitch from the real estate listing:
First Offering: The Desert House, 2005. Art, architecture and environmental awareness have been forged together in Marmol-Radziner's custom prototype for their burgeoning prefab division.... From the two-parcel, nearly 7.5 acre site on which the main house, guest house, studio and nearly 2,400 square feet of outdoor decks reside, broad panoramic vistas across the pool capture the all encompassing desert floor sweeping out to towering Mount San Jacinto and San Gorgonio.
Here's the rundown on the tours:
what: tours of Marmol Radziner's Desert Prefab
where: 14875 McCarger Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA
date: Saturday, March 1, 2008
how: directions and details (pdf)
...on the sale:
what: Marmol Radziner's Desert Prefab
where: Desert Hot Springs, CA
price: $1.85m ($881/sf)
size: 2,100 sf
features: Recycled steel framing, highly energy-efficient glass, and solar-assisted power
...on the LA Times article:
author: Peter Viles
length: 450 words
publication date: January 23, 2008
We hope to post regularly on a range of topics, including the various projects that we currently have in design and production, events around the country, or just interesting articles and ideas that influence what we do.
A recent post discussed putting a concrete floor in a prefab house:
We loved how the concrete floors in the Desert House looked, but we shied away from using them in our first few projects that we produced in our own factory. The Desert House’s concrete were so beautiful, but also so heavy, which made the installation quite challenging...
We'll keep track of any big updates over at the new blog, but be sure to check it out for yourselves.
Hello, Scott here. I've been keeping Peter more than busy, so it's time to expand the team.
We're looking for someone to gather and organize information, roughly 20 hours/week. The job requires lots of research, some editing, and very little writing.
See the CraigsList posting for details. We've received some good applications so far, but there are several ways to stand out from the crowd.
Jeriko House is based on a sophisticated high-tech 'kit-of-parts' building system providing high strength and incredible ease of assembly.... The heart of this system is its unique high-performance aluminum framing derived from the 'T-slot' framing commonly used in industrial automation applications. Made from aerospace-grade aluminum formed into precision shaped 'profiles' offering the approximate strength of steel with a great savings in weight, the Jeriko House frame structure is resilient, weatherproof, rustproof, and pest-proof....
In addition to custom options, the Web site shows four sample floorplans:
As of July 2007, three projects were underway:
...now under construction in Louisiana: a 4320-sq-ft Lakefront home; a 5500-sq-ft luxury home in Mandeville; and a 250-sq-ft garden retreat in Metairie...
model: Jeriko House
designer: Jeriko House
size: 2,032 - 4,320 sf
how: kit of parts
It was discovered by Eric Touchaleaume who has been called the "Indiana Jones of furniture collecting". He has spent the last decade scouring remote parts of the world for valuable artifacts such as this house. Having bought 600 of Prouvé's chairs, he became obsessed with finding the house. Hearing that someone had seen one in Brazzaville, he travelled there and found two of them damaged by bullet holes and corrosion. It took six months to get the buildings out of the Congo because of the civil war and tribal conflicts.
Jetson Green covered a modern prefab in Japan:
A group we've mentioned previously, useful + agreeable, is doing this by working with Atelier Tekuto to export his home designs outside of Japan.
Inhabitat's Prefab Friday looked at a series of prefabs from development firm Brio54. We will look at those more closely soon.
...six hundred and twenty square feet of efficient, modern design with two bedrooms, tons of storage, all of the necessities and a few of the niceties of life...
The building is essentially a sixteen foot deep wall; ... the maximum width that can go down the road, and Martin Kohn took advantage of this to create the thin, long structure....
model: Royal Q 1
designer: Kohn Shnier Architects
manufacturer: Royal Homes
size: 620 sf
how: complete modules
This is interesting. A retailer called Design Within Reach (NASDAQ:DWRI) is now offering prefab:
Designed by Tom Sandonato and Martin Wehmann, this 9'x13' structure redefines conventional prefab with its proprietary clamping system that makes installation quick, economic and practically waste-free. What also caught our attention about Kithaus is how it can tuck into any area, even remote locations, without needing ultra-heavy equipment. All of the lightweight, anodized aluminum pieces are pre-cut and drilled in Southern California and shipped to you for on-site assembly. Installation is fast, taking only a few days, and Kithaus is built with eco-friendly components.
Treehugger thinks it's a good idea:
This is fulfilling the promise of prefab: Architecture as industrial design, available to anyone off the shelf at any time. Architecture as product instead of service, possibly the future and salvation of the profession.
To support the sales of the kitHAUS models, a number of in-store events will be held:
A little history of Design Within Reach:
Design Within Reach is the source for fully licensed classics. Our business started when our founder tried to furnish his apartment with the mid-century classics he'd come to appreciate while living in London.And some corporate background:
Design Within Reach, Inc. is recognized nationwide as a preeminent provider of distinctive modern design furnishings and accessories. The Company markets and sells products in numerous categories to both residential and commercial customers through the DWR catalog, website and studios.
...over 1000 sqft of beautifully designed and detailed contemporary house or office. It is entirely manufactured under controlled factory conditions, which guarantees both quality of build and delivery time. m-house arrives in two pieces, each 3m (10' approx) wide, which are then joined together on site, which takes about a day. It comes completely fitted-out and ready for you to move into immediately, and delivery is 12 weeks after order.
designer: Tim Pyne
price: ~$290,000 (~$290/sf)
size: 1,000 sf
how: 2 modules
Periodically we like to look back at early prefabs. Architect and furniture designer Marcel Lajos Breuer (1902 - 1981) was a contemporary of Jean Prouvé (1901 - 1984). In 1942, Breuer designed the Plas-2-Point as "easily transportable, low-cost housing for returning GIs".
More details from a University of Oregon research paper:
This building was in fact never built, but is well documented as a pioneer in prefabricated housing types because of its ability to be mass produced with all the benefits this entailed in terms of cost improved quality, and above all, given post-war demand, rapid production....
Those interested in the home's structure should read the full paper.
designer: Marcel Breuer
how: complete modules
title: Plas-2-Point House
author: Tony Salas and Steve Bolinger
length: 1,150 words
date: Spring 1995
Zenkaya is a prefab from South Africa:
The Zenkaya is delivered completed, ready to live in, to your site right on the back of a flat bed truck.
The wall panels feature Chromadek (coated metal) on the outside and either polystyrene or OSB (oriented strand board) on the inside.
In form, the Zenkaya models remind me of the concrete perrinepod.
Last year, Apartment Therapy New York called the homes "stunning."
I love the fabulous ZENKAYA as much as anyone else.
[SPACEOUTLOUD] shared photos of the homes on display at a show in Cape Town.
how: complete modules
Zenkaya models range from 86 sf to 790 sf:
model: ZENKAYA Original
size: 220-660 sf
model: ZENKAYA Mini
size: 91 sf
size: 220-790 sf
size: 86 sf
Treehugger covered an aluminum prefab idea from Japan:
...an aluminum structural system that also works as a radiator for heat, and a conduit for electrical and plumbing.
Inhabitat's Prefab Friday looked at a container home in San Francisco:
...there isn’t a shortage of uses for containers as shelter, especially for those who like that super industrial architecture aesthetic. Leger Wanaselja Architecture finished their Container House at the close of last year, bringing a more traditional look to the container composed residence.
The architect, Laszlo Kiss, has designed a four-bedroom prototype in Sag Harbor that he says uses the constant temperature of the earth and the power of the sun for heat and electricity. The house, which he is calling About Saving a Planet, or ASAP, was built in a Pennsylvania factory, delivered in three sections by truck to a quarter-acre lot in Sag Harbor and assembled there in late December.
A bit more info from the ASAP• house site:
The ASAP• house consists of three prefabricated modules which are set on a high strength concrete, also prefabricated, foundation manufactured by Superior Wall. The house modules arrive at the site 80% finished and requiring only final assembly and minor interior and exterior work.
It'll be fun to follow the blog progress and see the finished product. At that point, we'll officially have one more prefab contender, and more particularly, one that can service the Northeast!
The home's blog features some good progress reports, including the delivery and set of the modules.
company: ASAP• house
foundation: Superior Walls
features: solar and geo-thermal heating/cooling standard, full basement, front and rear porches
Santa Monica-based Minarc has a (minimal) new website for their M3house.
We admired the Minarc house by Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir when it was in Dwell; now we learn that they are offering it in a prefab version. The designers...have wanted to design a high-tech modern home that only used materials "in their most organic form and that used recycled materials wherever possible."...They are offering three modular versions built from 2x6 walls, lots of insulation and radiant flooring.
land+living shared several images of a non-prefab prototype from a tour last year. The Minarc brochure (pdf) released at the time explained their eBOX series 05. It looks like the M3house will be quite different.
We look forward to more details on the new home. The image above is the only thing on the new site; what a tease!
how: complete modules
We covered many informative websites on prefab and modular homes last year. A few of our favorite posts:
In my previous entry I introduced Scott, my correspondent from Sweden. An American builder relocated to a suburb of Stockholm, he landed in an alternate reality where modern housing was everywhere, commonplace, even dare I say unremarkable. None of the stigmas or resistance we have come to associate with building a modern house were present. Every builder offered solid modern design in the range of homes they sold, and were more than happy to sell you one. On top of this prefabrication techniques were the norm. Sizable portions of the houses Scott saw being built were put together in the factory...
What did Scott find?
"...the majority of new construction is built like this. I would call the house panelized - but it is "way way panelized" and is a total package. The houses come on trucks from rural places in Sweden. The windows are in, the insulation, wiring, wallboard where possible - every thing - the pipes, the wiring systems, the doors, stairs ... everything has been engineered and rationalized to reduce labor, find energy and material economy and work with the method of construction where stuff is pre-assembled as much as possible inside a building and then "erected" or installed on the site under very compressed schedules...."
Read the full post for Greg's comparison to prefab on this side of the pond.
It's fun to compare contemporary prefabs to the classic models. We covered a few historical prefabs last year: