Entries tagged as 'Empyrean'
We weren't able to attend this year's Dwell on Design show in LA, so we'll just do a recap from afar.
Dwell's student blogger Jose Garcia interviewed Michelle Kaufmann.
Curbed LA gave a rundown of the prefab neighborhood with a slideshow and commentary.
Apartment Therapy posted their thoughts, with a slideshow.
We'll cover HOM in more detail soon. Until then, Jetson Green provided some info:
(For reference: our miniHome page.)
This year's prefab exhibitors:
Absent from the show, but present last year:
If you visited the show, please leave your impressions in a comment!
Dwell Magazine's third Dwell On Design conference and exhibition is coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center June 5-8.
The public exhibition opens June 7th (emphasis added):
Prefab companies that are listed as exhibiting include:
If you're interested in attending, you can register for the exhibition FREE; just enter the code "BDODEC".
what: Dwell on Design 2008
where: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
when: Conference: June 5-6, 2008; Exhibition: June 7-8, 2008
sponsor: Dwell Magazine
registration: $25 for exhibition only (FREE with the code "BDODEC"), $349 for full conference and exhibition
The 2,400-square-foot house was built in panels by manufacturer Empyrean at its factory in Acton, Mass., shipped to the Bay Area and assembled on-site. It incorporates energy-efficient technology and sustainable materials and is the seventh in a series called the NextHouse; the project has been a collaboration with San Francisco-based Dwell magazine, which has 12 more under way across the country.
title: Custom prefab
subtitle: Modern designs show the new face of factory-built houses
author: Holly Hayes
publication: San Jose Mercury News
length: 1,100 words
publication date: April 19, 2008
The new site features much improved navigation and more detailed information:
Yesterday, Dwell magazine announced an open house:
Modern prefab has arrived in Mountain View, CA in the form of a progressive single-family home -- the Dwell NextHouse by Empyrean. ... A unique opportunity to tour the 2,400 sq ft prefabricated home will be available.... Dwell invites attendees to become engaged in a dialogue about modern and prefab home design.
Their site has a schedule and information on the speakers:
Can't make it? Or want a preview? Jetson Green found this entertaining video tour from interior designer Sally Kuchar:
where: Mountain View, CA
when: March 27, 9am - 6pm (trade)
when: March 29-30, 10am - 6pm (consumer)
how: Open House Tickets
Deck House and Acorn both feature open plans, walls of glass, and soaring volume spaces. Both are custom designed for the customer and the site.
Empyrean designs each house individually; homeowners can choose to modify an existing floorplan or start from scratch.
The company has been building prefabs since the 1960's. From the Empyrean site:
Deck House, Inc., was founded in 1959 by William Berkes, a graduate of Harvard University School of Design. Having pioneered other building systems, he founded Deck House, Inc. in order to provide top quality post and beam houses to upscale professional families...
model: Deck House
style: traditional, post and beam
manufacturer: Empyrean International
manufacturer: Empyrean International
The Dwell on Design conference is this weekend in San Francisco.
We won't be there, but here's who will:
We heard from Alchemy Architects:
"Alchemy Architects will be at Dwell on Design 2007 with a weeHouse to 'tour'. Amazing, but we had a CA client who's weeHouse is just being finished...so it'll stop in San Fran on its way to San Diego. It's a very exciting opportunity for people who are interested in a weeHouse to see a weeHouse. We'll be in the outdoor, prefab section."
Some prefab-specific events that will be worth checking out:
what: Dwell on Design conference
where: Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, CA
when: September 14-16, 2007
sponsor: Dwell Magazine
registration: $20 for Exhibition Only pass, September 15-16. $895 for full conference and exhibition passport.
features: over 80 exhibitors and vendors
Yesterday we covered a slideshow essay at Slate that criticized the current "prefab fad." Rybczynski has a 3 part indictment:
"unpopular, expensive and divorced from industrial production".We're not sure whether he's paying attention.
As for "unpopular", Modernist homes (prefab or otherwise) are aimed at a specific audience:
"Where are all these people who live in cool lofts and spaces in the city supposed to go when they move to the country? They certainly don't want to go live in a colonial-style house." (Robert Luntz of Resolution: 4, quoted in Builder Online)
It's unlikely that modernist prefab will sweep away the dominant preference for traditional homes. But it could easily become a profitable (self-sustaining) niche. Our favorite example is the one that we (Peter and Scott) are using to create and edit this post: the Macintosh still has less than 10% overall market share but represents a thriving business that continues to dominate several niche markets.
Prefab doesn't just mean modernist, e.g. Hive Modular offers a (mostly) traditional facade, Empyrean's Deck House and Acorn are classic "post and beam", and the "traditional" modular housing industry is growing.
The current crop of prefab architects want to make "good design" more affordable.
"Most architects working in prefab are trying to create standard designs, to reduce the cost and risk to the client, and bring the services of talented architects to smaller houses." (Lloyd Alter on Treehugger, quoted in May)
"While her first customers tended to fit the stereotype of the Prius-driving, NPR-listening eco-consumer, Kaufmann is increasingly fielding inquiries from people who just want an attractive, affordable house." (From an article on Michelle Kaufmann in July.)
Has the prefab industry achieved its goals? No. Is it headed in the right direction? We think so.
Preston at Jetson Green showed off the Ideabox Prefab:
"Ideabox offers a pretty cool product in the modern, prefabricated housing industry. Ideabox emphasizes good design, not square footage, and they make it easy to do."He also wrote about the JoT House.
The author at ColumbusING tried to spark debate about prefab:
"Can it be a viable solution? Over the past 10 years the country and for that matter Columbus has been inundated with the "cookie cutter" type of residential building, which has paved the way for convenient and affordable living for some and in the mind of others, has created a perception of architectural character digust. So where does that put Prefab houses?"
"It's an interesting mix of photos, thoughts and information that anyone who dreams of going prefab will find very enlightening."
The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday wrote about the PLACE Houses, a new prefab concept. We'll cover those in more depth soon.
Inhabitat's Prefab Friday examined a student housing project made from containers.
Empyrean designer Joel Turkel has provided his own take on modernist prefab for the Dwell Homes. All three sizes of the Empyrean NextHouse feature wood siding and large windows, with somewhat traditional layouts. According to Business Week:
Empyrean's home, dubbed NextHouse and designed by architect Joel Turkel, centers on a core-like space with a stretch of wall and window that extends through both levels of the house, so someone on the first floor can see up to the second. Despite the openness of the plan, private spaces are tucked into the opposite sides of the central living room. The master bedroom includes a roof deck.
name: The NextHouse 2500
additional square footage (decks, basement): 1,372sf
name: The NextHouse 3100
additional square footage (decks, basement): 2,070sf
name: The NextHouse 3150
additional square footage (decks, basement): 2,109sf
All models feature:
In addition to the new Dwell Homes line, Empyrean has more traditional options in their product line. Look for a post on those soon!
Resolution 4: Architecture won the original Dwell Home competition from a pool of 16 competitors. Joseph Tanney, a partner of the firm, commented on the winning entry in 2003:
"Modern Modular offers an option for a modern, affordable home that could aesthetically transform the American domestic landscape. The challenge that lies ahead is execution and implementation. We believe we have the strategy; now we need to execute it — and the Dwell Home offers the perfect opportunity to show that the system works. — from the Dwell Homes site.
Resolution 4: Architecture contributes three homes to the Dwell Homes line, including the winning Dwell Home. All of the designs feature wood siding and plenty of windows in modern, rectilinear designs.
name: The Dwell Home
additional square footage (decks, basement): 3,101sf
name: The Beach House
additional square footage (decks, basement): 1,356sf
name: The Suburban
additional square footage (decks, basement): 932sf
All models feature:
Articles and blog posts about the homes from Resolution 4: Architecture: MocoLoco shares some pictures of the winning entry. Treehugger spreads the news that the original Dwell Home was for sale back in 2005.
Dwell Magazine deserves much credit for the rise of modernist prefab in the past few years. Many of the designers and homes featured on this site first appeared in its pages.
In the manifesto published in the first issue in October 2000, editor Kerrie Jacobs explained the magazine's vision:
"At Dwell, we're staging a minor revolution. We think that it's possible to live in a house or apartment by a bold modern architect, to own furniture and products that are exceptionally well designed, and still be a regular human being. We think that good design is an integral part of real life. And that real life has been conspicuous by its absence in most design and architecture magazines."
In 2003 "Dwell introduced the Dwell Home Design Invitational, a competition for a modern prefab prototype home designed for mass production." A subsequent competition was held for the more environmentally conscious Dwell Home II, but that home's prototype has yet to clear permitting hurdles.
The winner of the original competition, Resolution 4: Architecture, and a second company, Lazor Office, were chosen to design modernist prefab homes to be built by Empyrean. Empyrean has been building homes with prefab methods since 1959; its own designers contributed two designs to the Dwell Homes.
Dwell's (now former) Editor-in-Chief Allison Arieff explained the advantages of such a partnership between designer and manufacturer:
"One of the major obstacles prefab has faced has been effective collaboration among designers, manufacturers, and clients. This exciting partnership brings together experienced parties across that spectrum, all of whom are passionate about and committed to prefab's potential."
We'll cover the designs of the Dwell Homes, and the progress of the greener Dwell Home II, over the next few days.
Some features common to all of the Dwell Homes:
fabricator: Empyrean International, LLC
cost: $175/sf - 250/sf (includes all fees, site work, and finishes)
primary materials: stucco, wood siding, wood windows, wood decking
planning time: "few months"
permitting time: "days to months"
assembly time: "few weeks"
all on-site construction time: 3 - 6 months
construction type: conventional framing, non-modular
funding method: traditional lender
warranty: 10 years on manufactured components
miscellaneous: network of 300 Preferred Builders, customization possible