The world of prefab and modular homes.
 Entries tagged as 'small'

Tiny homes in the UK by FKDA Architects

Link to Tiny homes in the UK by FKDA Architects

info_smallFKDA Architects designs and builds micro-homes in the UK.

They currently offer two models they call "sheds":

model: Big Shed
size: 24 m² (258 sf)
br: 1
bath: 1
price: €35,000 - €50,000 ($48,716 - $69,595)

model: Little Shed
size: 13m² (140 sf)
br: 0
bath: 1
price: €20,000 - €35,000 ($27,838 - $48,716)

According to their site:

The shed could be entirely prefabricated in a factory and delivered to site


Alternatively, the components can be delivered and the shed assembled on site, with each being small and light enough for one or two people to manhandle, eliminating the need for a crane.


The total process typically takes around 18 weeks.

They are also working on a Zero Carbon modular house they are calling eco-home. We will post more information when it becomes available.

Hat tip: Inhabitat on June 16, 2009 via Design Boom on June 15, 2009.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small modular UK kit FKDA Architects

LA Times on mini prefabs

Link to LA Times on mini prefabs
Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times recently featured mini prefab structures, including a photo gallery.

Companies mentioned:

Subtitle: Mini prefabs become offices, playrooms, even guest quarters.
Author: Emily Young
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Section: Home & Garden
Length: 1,052 words
Date: June 13, 2009

Hat tip: materialicious on June 15, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: container video, WIELER, sheds and more (Apr 12, 2008)
   2. This week: kitHAUS, mkSolaire, containers and more (Apr 05, 2008)
   3. Prefab goes retail: buy a kitHAUS at Design Within Reach (Feb 14, 2008)
   4. WIRED on small prefab (Jan 14, 2008)
   5. This week: containers, concepts, and kitHAUS (Dec 01, 2007)
   6. This week: Habode, historical prefab and more (Nov 24, 2007)
   7. This week: Modern Shed and the Marmol factory (Oct 20, 2007)
   8. Prefab goes to the mall: kitHAUS in San Diego (Aug 06, 2007)
   9. Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios (Apr 16, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: kitHAUS small article Modern Shed Modern Cabana

weeHouse in Continental Airlines magazine

info_smallAlchemy Architects recently mentioned that info_smallweeHouse is covered in the inflight magazine for Continental Airlines this month.

We looked around and found the link:

Subtitle: As the era of McMansions fades, wee houses promote simpler, more efficient living
Author: Joe Bargmann
Publication: The inflight magazine for Continental Airlines
Section: The Idea of the Moment
Length: 1,235 words
Date: June 2009

Related Posts:
   1. Pictures of weeHouse settings in Colorado and New York (Aug 26, 2009)
   2. weeHouse for sale in Wisconsin (Aug 04, 2009)
   3. weeHouse for sale in Duluth, MN (Jul 17, 2009)
   4. weeHouse by Alchemy on display in WI; today and this weekend (May 22, 2009)
   5. New weeHouse set in Oregon (Mar 03, 2009)
   6. Pictures of the Johnson Creek weeHouse (Dec 22, 2008)
   7. Three weeHouse open houses in the next two weeks (Oct 07, 2008)
   8. This week: Lifepod and weeHouses in the UK (Sep 06, 2008)
   9. weeHouses are now cheaper than ever (and can even power themselves!) (Sep 04, 2008)
   10. New 4x weeHouses join the weeLineup (May 19, 2008)
   11. This week: weeHouse, Australia and plenty of gingerbread (Dec 22, 2007)
   12. New weeHouse website (Dec 21, 2007)
   13. Open house: weeHouse in Minneapolis on Dec. 14 (Dec 12, 2007)
   14. This week: Bombala, weeHouse in LA, and more (Nov 10, 2007)
   15. This week: weeHouses and more Dwell on Design (Aug 18, 2007)
   16. This week: New Orleans, Austrian prefab, and weeHouses (Apr 28, 2007)
   17. Itsy Bitsy weeHouse (Mar 26, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse small article Alchemy Architects

MD Series by Modular Dwellings

Link to MD Series by Modular Dwellings

info_smallModular Dwellings, led by Edgar Blazona, creates "mobile, modern and affordable buildings."

Model Size BR Bath

info_smallMD 42 42 sf 1 0
info_smallMD 100 100 sf 1 0
info_smallMD 120 120 sf 1 0
info_smallMD 144 144 sf 1 0
info_smallMD 280 280 sf 1 1

(We were not able to find pricing information on their site.)

Hat tip: Coming Unmoored on May 22, 2009.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small modular Modular Dwellings

Farmworker Housing Project by Mithun

Link to Farmworker Housing Project by Mithun

Jetson Green recently covered a pilot project in Washington state.

With the sponsorship of the Seattle Archidiocesan Housing Authority and a grant from Enterprise Community Partners, Mithun designed three prefabricated modules to provide a model for affordable housing for farmworkers and their families.

Each of the 3 module designs by info_smallMithun are 580 sf.

Two of the first constructed units will go to farms in Skagit Valley, while the other will likely end up in Yakima. Upon completion, the homes will be publicly available by appointment.

Check out the post for more pictures and see Mithun's project detail page for further information.

We didn't see any information on costs, so it's not clear if the "affordable" part of the goal was met.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small modular Washington Mithun

Prefab modular housing for the homeless

The Vancouver Sun recently featured an interesting proposal by architect George Henriquez (of info_smallHenriquez Partners Architects) and real estate consultant Michael Geller.

Vancouver city council is backing a proposal to provide 550 temporary housing units for the homeless, including prefabricated modular units

According to Geller:

capital costs would vary between $37,000 and $46,000 per unit, compared to $302,000 for permanent units already announced by the province

Read the article for more details.

Subtitle: Proposal for 550 units relies heavily on provincial funding that Victoria has yet to commit
Author: Doug Ward
Publication: The Vancouver Sun
Section: News
Length: 383 words
Date: April 8, 2009

Hat tip: PropertyProf Blog on April 16, 2009.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small article modular

First re-Growth pod delivered

Link to First re-Growth pod delivered

The Herald Sun in Australia reports that the first re-Growth pod by info_small1:1 Architects has arrived on site.

They are available at a cost of $30,000, and can be built as single or multiple units and placed on almost any block in two weeks.

Read the entire article for more details.

Author: Norrie Ross
Publication: Herald Sun (Australia)
Section: News
Length: 294 words
Date: April 10, 2009

Hat tip: Arch Daily on April 12, 2009 and the re-Growth pod blog on April 8. Both include pictures.

Related Posts:
   1. re-Growth Pod by 1:1 Architects (Mar 11, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small article modular concrete

GreenPod Development

Link to GreenPod Development

We received an email a while back from info_smallGreenPod Development.

From their site:

GreenPods are compact custom modular homes built for energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and sustainability. From foundation to roof, inside and out, Pods can be individually customized and furnished to your specifications and individual living style.

They have a complete line of models called soloPODS:

Model Price Size BR Bath

info_smallLopez $60,000 372 sf 1 1
info_smallPort Townsend $85,000 420 sf 1 1
info_smallLummi $85,000 553 sf 1 1
info_smallBainbridge $85,000-$165,000 630 sf 1 1
info_smallMercer ? 648 sf 1 1
info_smallLudlow $95,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallCamano $125,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallLangley $150,000 731 sf 1 1
info_smallQuil ? 731 sf 1 1
info_smallWinslow Suspended ? 731 sf 1 1
info_smallOrcas $175,000 744 sf 1 1

Additional information:

Related Posts:
   1. GreenPod open house this weekend in Burlington, Washington (Dec 10, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green modular

Ideabox Open House on March 26, 2009 in Port Townsend, WA

Link to Ideabox Open House on March 26, 2009 in Port Townsend, WA

info_smallideabox recently finished moving their info_smallconfluence prefab from the 2009 Portland Home & Garden Show to a neighborhood in Port Townsend, WA.

status: available
size: 840 sf
br: 2
bath: 1.75
price: $184,000 - $224,000 for land/box packages in Port Townsend
footprint: 57’ 4” long x 15’ wide

Realtor Charlie Arthur of RE/MAX FIRST, INC. is blogging about the house:

This unit is going to be our model unit for the presales...We will be offering 2 and 3 bedroom homes for in the low 200's

Scroll through his recent posts for more details, e.g.

  • video 1 (0:36) of the house arriving in Port Townsend
  • video 2 (0:28) of the house on the lot

If you find yourself in the area, check out their upcoming Open House:

where: Port Townsend, WA
location: 1650 Cherry Street
date: March 26, 2009
time: 9:00am - 12:00pm

Hat tip: Jetson Green on February 18, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Ideabox, Method Homes, and unconventional (Jul 26, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green modular event ideabox

The Pennywise House by Russell Versaci

Link to The Pennywise House by Russell Versaci

The Baltimore Sun reprinted a McClatchy-Tribune article about The Pennywise House.

It's part consciousness-raising effort and part marketing campaign for his house plans and a coming line of modular homes that will be based on them.


The houses ... [will] be based on the vernacular architecture of 10 regions of the country, which he thinks will help bring character to their environs.


He hopes his "Pennywise House" proposal will draw attention to the benefits of returning to those traditional architectural styles, with updates to make them livable today. Those styles developed and became popular because they were adapted to the local conditions, he said - deep porches in the hot South, for example, and piers in South Carolina's Low Country to raise the houses above the moist ground.

Here are the details of "The Simple Cottage Sampler" line:

  • designer: info_smallRussell Versaci
  • builder: info_smallHaven Custom Homes
  • size: 400 - 950 sf (can be expanded with additional modular units)
  • availability: on the east coast (US) later this year
  • price: has not been set
  • view designs (PDF)

Read the entire article.

Subtitle: 'Pennywise' line aims to make compact, regional architecture more desirable
Author: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Publication: Baltimore Sun
Length: 787 words
Date: March 8, 2009

(Hat tip: Building Systems on March 9, 2009.)

Related Posts:
   1. Builder Magazine highlights prefab houses (May 29, 2009)
   2. Sanctuary Village modular development (Nov 13, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small modular

Balance S-M-L Series from Method Homes

Link to Balance S-M-L Series from Method Homes

info_smallMethod Homes recently introduced their Balance S-M-L Series.

According to their website, they are:

highly efficient prefab homes, with small footprints to boot ... designed to arrive 95% complete within 2-3 months of purchase.

Individual model prices are not listed, but they mention the line will be "starting under $100,000".

Here's the model information:

Model Size BR Bath

info_smallSmall 565 sf 0 1
info_smallMedium 744 sf 1 1
info_smallLarge 992 sf 1-2 1

To see the layouts:

The series was created in collaboration with info_smallBalance Associates.

Hat tip: Jetson Green on March 11, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. Pictures of Method Homes setting (Oct 03, 2009)
   2. Method Prefab (Sep 03, 2009)
   3. This week: Method Homes, HOM, containers and lots more Home Delivery (Aug 02, 2008)
   4. This week: Ideabox, Method Homes, and unconventional (Jul 26, 2008)
   5. This week: Method Homes, Énóvo, Canühome (May 17, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small modular Method Homes

re-Growth Pod by 1:1 Architects

Link to re-Growth Pod by 1:1 Architects

In the news: the re-Growth Pod from info_small1:1 Architects in Australia. According to their website, it's:

A completely self contained concrete service pod. It is a permanent and cost effective housing unit which can assist in the rebuilding of the fire devastated town-ships of Victoria.

The robust pre-fabricated concrete structure has been designed to be built upon, but in the short term acts as a habitable starting point for the building of a new home. The units can be prefabricated, delivered and connected to services rapidly allowing families to begin the process of re-building without displacement from their communities.

Watch the assembly animation video (0:20).

The prototype will be built by info_smallEcotec Build Solutions. Track their progress via the re-Growth Pod blog.

Hat tips: Arch Daily on March 4, 2009 and Treehugger on March 6, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. First re-Growth pod delivered (Apr 17, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small modular concrete 1:1 Architects

Small houses in the Economist

Link to Small houses in the Economist

The Economist recently covered small houses.

The Small House Movement has been around for years, encouraging people to think about how much house they really need. But lately it has attracted more attention. “It seems like a perfect convergence of a bad housing market meeting a bad economy and more awareness about global warming,” claims Jay Shafer, an enthusiastic advocate.

The article mentions 2 companies, both with prefab options:

Read the entire article.

Subtitle: A new vogue for little living
Publication: The Economist
Length: 414 words
Date: February 19, 2009

Hat tip: Jetson Green on February 23, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. The New York Times looks at small prefab and more small prefab (Sep 11, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small article

The ultra-affordable Universal World House

Link to The ultra-affordable Universal World House

The Times Online (UK) covered a temporary home called The Universal World House by inventor Gerd Niemoeller.

It is made of paper, but according to The Times:

The interior of the prefabricated building panels resemble honeycombs; an air vacuum fills each of the units. The result: a strong and stable exterior wall, well insulated.


Retailing for about $5,000 (£3,375), the house is supposed to brighten up Third World shantytowns and provide quick shelter for long-term refugees.

...the 36sq m paper house weighs barely 800kg (1,763lb) — lighter than a VW Golf.

Read the entire article, including comments from a number of interested buyers here in the US.

Author: Roger Boyes
Publication: The Times Online
Section: Europe News
Length: 566 words
Date: January 17, 2009

Hat tip: TreeHugger on January 21, 2009

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small unconventional ultra-affordable

Binary Design Studio and the SEED[pod]

Link to Binary Design Studio and the SEED[pod]

Last month, a few blogs covered new prefab concepts from info_smallBinary Design Studio.

On October 13, 2008 Archinect wrote:

Binary has also created small SEED (pods) as an alternative form of affordable dwelling for that segment of the global market that cannot qualify for a traditional home.

(SEED = Small Energy Efficient Dwelling)

The Archinect post also briefly discusses another prefabricated element the studio is developing:

they are producing ceramic blocks, based on the thermodynamic strategies of barrel cacti and termite mounds.... Vollen and Clifford will manufacture the blocks themselves. They hope that these materials will soon be available in new homes.

On October 23, 2008 Inhabitat commented:

Like many prefab homes, the seed(pod) is based upon the idea that families can purchase a smaller home and then add on to it with modules as they need more space.

On October 27, 2008 Treehugger shared a skeptical view of small, affordable housing:

Such a lovely story, and a lovely design too. There are just a couple of problems with incremental design that so many in the prefab world have tried to solve: 1) Land ... 2) Laws ... 3) Price per square foot ... 4) Banks.

(Read the post for details on each.)

Other blog coverage:

Related Posts:
   1. SEED[pod] by the University of Arizona (Sep 21, 2009)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green

Small homes from Sweden

Link to Small homes from Sweden

Design blog Dezeen reports on the Mini House, which takes advantage of new zoning laws in Sweden:

Since January 1st 2008 Swedish property owners are allowed to build a 15 sqm house on their land without a building permit.

The details:

  • indoor space: 15 square meters (161.5 sf)
  • outdoor space: 15 square meters (161.5 sf)
  • 2 people can assemble in 1-2 days
  • built with SIPS (panels made of plywood and styrofoam)
  • 8 components per house (assembly process shown on the Nordic Marine site)
  • requires site preparation of a foundation e.g. concrete slab
  • won the Innovation Award 2008 from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the UK

More about the concept:

Mini house is a “friggebod” concept which brings some fun and excitement to a dull and conservative market. The concept means prefabrication, flat-pack delivery and weekend-long build-up! Building a house should be fun and easy. Kind of like putting together an Ikea cabinet!

(As best we can tell, friggebod means garden hut or shed.)

See the original post for 11 pictures and more details.

model: Mini house
available: Europe
size: 161.5 sf
price: €12,200 - €17,700 ($16,500 - $24,000)
br: 1

(Hat tip: Treehugger)

Related Posts:
   1. Passive homes from Sweden (Nov 04, 2008)
   2. More small prefab: Metroshed (Jun 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small Sweden

This week: Werner Sobek, sheds, and domes

Link to This week: Werner Sobek, sheds, and domes

Apartment Therapy Chicago looked at Werner Sobek's R128 and H16 homes:

These structures aren't available through a manufacturer; they're custom homes designed using lightweight, modular parts. The "prefab" part of these homes lies in their skillful engineering. R218 (shown above) is made from 100% recyclable, easy-to-assemble mortise and tenon joints and bolted joints, while the H16 is made from prefabricated architectural concrete...

And Apartment Therapy New York caught The New York Times' coverage of "high-style sheds":

The focus of the story is on the immediate gratification of prefab sheds ...

Prior to the New York Times' articles, Treehugger wrote about friggebods, or Swedish garden sheds:

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter have designed a lovely little 100 square foot cabin/office/guest room prefab that is lovely to look at.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered the Danish Easy Domes:

The dome offers individuals the opportunity to build their own high quality homes, coming with pre-built wooden sections, ready to assemble on either a concrete or timber plinth. Once on site, the dome houses take only one day to raise and seal, and for domes less than 50 square foot, no crane is needed to complete construction.

Related Posts:
   1. The New York Times looks at small prefab and more small prefab (Sep 11, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small This Week unconventional

The New York Times looks at small prefab and more small prefab

Link to The New York Times looks at small prefab and more small prefab

On Wednesday, The New York Times filed a pair of articles on small homes. The first, specifically covered prefab sheds:

Tiny, high-style prefabricated sheds like the Kithaus have received a great deal of attention over the last year, with admiring coverage in design blogs and magazines, and roughly four times more companies producing them now than five years ago. So far, the market is still small, though a tipping point of sorts may have been reached this year, when Design Within Reach began selling the Kithaus, along with furnishing packages to turn it into an instant office, bedroom, pool house or den.

Companies and models included in that article:

The second explained the "tiny house" phenomenon:

... spaces that are smaller than 1,000 square feet and, in some cases, smaller than 100. Tiny houses have been a fringe curiosity for a decade or more, but devotees believe the concept’s time has finally arrived.

Prefab models mentioned:

publication: The New York Times
author: Michael Cannell
length: 1,250 words
publication date: September 10, 2008

publication: The New York Times
author: Steven Kurutz
length: 1,600 words
publication date: September 10, 2008

Related Posts:
   1. Small houses in the Economist (Feb 27, 2009)
   2. This week: Werner Sobek, sheds, and domes (Sep 13, 2008)
   3. Tiny Houses (May 23, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small article

This week: kitHAUS, mkSolaire, containers and more

We missed two of our "this week" posts, so here's a roundup of the past three weeks of prefab news.

Prefab Update shared a video of the installation of MKD's mkSolaire in Chicago:

MoCo Loco posted some pics of the recent info_smallkitHAUS info_smallK3 install in Big Sur, California.

Jetson Green got excited about a container loft project:

...the first, mid-rise container building in the U.S. is planned for downtown Salt Lake City. The project was designed by none other than Adam Kalkin, container architecture expert, and will be called City Center Lofts.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered a prefab in Brazil, discussed the new joint venture between info_smallLivingHomes and info_smallKieranTimberlake, and took a look at the ZeroHouse.

Inhabitat also discovered the LV Home in Napa we've discussed previously.

Related Posts:
   1. LA Times on mini prefabs (Jun 18, 2009)
   2. mkSolaire on display through January 4th at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (Jun 02, 2008)
   3. KieranTimberlake partners with LivingHomes (Mar 19, 2008)
   4. Zero House on gadget blogs (Nov 19, 2007)
   5. Tours of an LV Series home in the Napa Valley (Jul 12, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: kitHAUS small MKD KieranTimberlake This Week mkSolaire

The m-house

Link to The m-house

The info_smallm-house is another small prefab home from the UK (we mentioned the home back in September):

...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.

Features include:

  • under floor heating throughout (electric or gas)

  • solid fuel stove for cosy nights in front of the fire

  • fitted kitchen with loads of worksurface and storage

  • fridge, freezer, hob, oven and dishwasher (all Neff in Europe)

  • utility/ drying room with a washing machine with a decent spin speed

  • tiled bathroom with nice sanitaryware and a mains pressure shower

  • big double-ended steel bath with a view out of the window

  • kingsize bed decks with storage below and big shelves for books

  • fitted wardrobes with mirrors inside the doors

  • nice wool bedroom carpets

For some great images of the m-house, check out Ken Sparkes' flickr photostream. And watch this video of the designer from the BBC.

model: info_smallm-house
designer: Tim Pyne
price: ~$290,000 (~$290/sf)
size: 1,000 sf
br: 2
style: modern
how: 2 modules

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small video modular UK modern m-house

Last year on Prefabcosm: websites

We covered many informative websites on prefab and modular homes last year. A few of our favorite posts:

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: Rocio Romero Hive Modular LV Series Resolution 4: Architecture small Prefabcosm website Flatpak House modular

MetroShed introduces smaller MetroCabin

Link to MetroShed introduces smaller MetroCabin

From a recent info_smallMetroShed press release:

MetroShed ... has launched a brand new livable 12 foot deep by 16 foot wide MetroCabin for sale in the U.S.

...adding square footage to ... existing property has become a realistic alternative to many more people looking to expand space for an art studio, home office, exercise room, yoga room or guest suite.

The 12x16 MetroCabin features curved steel roof beams (with available straight roof package), Duro-Last Roofing, Batt Insulated Pre-Fab SIP walls, Birch Interior Panels, Meta Floor System and Premium heavy duty slide and glide doors.

The new info_small12' x 16' MetroCabin joins the original info_small16' x 20' MetroCabin in the MetroShed product lineup.

Jetson Green wants one:

Matter of fact, I've said it before, but I'd love to have one of these in the back to blog and exercise in.

size: ~190 sf
price: $17,460 ($92/sf)

Related Posts:
   1. More small prefab: Metroshed (Jun 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small MetroShed MetroCabin

Historic prefab: Venturo and the Futuro House

Link to Historic prefab: Venturo and the Futuro House

info_smallVenturo, a fiberglass prefab from the 1970's has been talked about quite a bit around the blogosphere the past couple weeks. Treehugger says:

There is really nothing new about many of the modern prefabs that everyone is going gaga over; back in the 70's Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed the Venturo, a bit less extreme than his wonderful Futuro House. It appears to have been used primarily as gas stations for BP.

More from Finnish blog Tuovinen:

The "Venturo" is a modular, easily transportable building system, having excellent insulation, low weight and designed for minimum assembly on site.

It is built of high quality materials in order to ensure maximum weathering properties for use in arctic as well as tropical climates and is almost maintenance free.

Being of low weight and factory preassembled, the Venturo means very low erections and foundation costs, where heavy equipment can be avoided.

Nineteen Venturos were built:

First prototype of this model was designed January 9, 1971 and first production unit was built June 1, 1971. According to Museum of Finnish Architecture, BP was built in 1971. BP-Högmo is the second Venturo built according to MFA....

The Venturo was released by Finnish company info_smallOy Polykem Ab following the success of Suuronen's earlier info_smallFuturo House. From a paper titled Futuro's Way by Marko Home and Mike Taanila:

Capitalising on the Futuro´s international exposure, Polykem Ltd. soon launched a whole series of plastic buildings designed by Suuronen. The Casa Finlandia series included the CF-100/200 service station (1969), the CF-10 kiosk (1970) and the CF-45 residential/commercial building, better known as the Venturo (1971). All the buildings in the Casa Finlandia series were designed to be durable and convenient to mass-produce, transport and assemble. The numerical suffix in each building´s name indicates its floor area in square metres. Polykem strove to sharpen the international profile of the Casa Finlandia series by publishing stylish 4-colour brochures complete with vivid product descriptions and catchy slogans.

More on the Futuro House from enthusiast Marc Berting:

Matti Suuronen designed this UFO shaped dwelling in 1968, initially for use as a ski-cabin or holiday home....

The Futuro house was completely furnished and could accommodate 8 people. It was constructed entirely out of reinforced plastic, a new, light and inexpensive material back then. The plan was to mass-produce it, so it would be cheap enough to house all people around the earth. Because it was so light-weight, it was easily transportable by helicopter. Mobile living was the new possibility for the future. People could now take their moveable home with them, to wherever they went, and live like modern nomads.

Unfortunately the 1973 oil crisis spoiled all these plans. Prices of plastic raised production costs too high to be profitable. Only 96 Futuro houses were ever built. Besides the 48 made in Finland, also at least 48 were manufactured abroad on license.

Related Posts:
   1. Historic prefab: pre-assembled wall panels (Jan 28, 2008)
   2. Historic Prefab: How to identify a Sears Kit Home (Dec 17, 2007)
   3. Historic Prefab: Iron prefab for sale (Nov 02, 2007)
   4. Historic Prefab: Sears Homes (Jul 26, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small historical process modern Matti Suuronen Venturo Futuro House

The m-ch (micro compact home)

Link to The m-ch (micro compact home)
all images:

The info_smallm-ch (micro compact home) will also be included in the upcoming MoMA prefab exhibition.

The New York Times says:

Mr. Horden’s Micro Compact House — Mr. Bergdoll [of MoMA] described it as “a giant livable Sony radio cube” — is topped with photovoltaic panels and has wind turbines in its walls, allowing the house to generate its own electricity. An aluminum-clad perfect cube, with about 76 square feet of living space, the tiny dwelling is intended for use as athletic or student housing, or as a miniature vacation house. Mr. Bergdoll met with Mr. Horden in one of his cubes, a space so compact that the architect managed to make espresso on the kitchen counter without leaving his seat at the dining table.

The house is commercially available — it recently went on the market in Europe — and can be delivered by helicopter or crane.


From the micro compact home site:

The micro compact home [m-ch] is a lightweight compact dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m [8.5 ft] cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working / dining, cooking and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use.

Informed by aviation and automotive design and manufactured at the micro compact home production centre in Austria, the m-ch can be delivered throughout Europe with project individual graphics and interior finishes.

The team of researchers and designers based in London and at the Technical University in Munich developed the m-ch as an answer to an increasing demand for short stay living for students, business people, sports and leisure use and for weekenders. The m-ch, now in use and available throughout Europe, combines techniques for high quality compact 'living' spaces deployed in aircraft, yachts, cars, and micro apartments. Its design has been informed by the classic scale and order of a Japanese tea-house, combined with advanced concepts and technologies. Living in an m-ch means focusing on the essential - less is more. The use of progressive materials complements the sleek design. Quality of design, touch and use are the key objectives for the micro compact home team....for 'short stay smart living'.


The specifics:

The m-ch has a timber frame structure with anodised aluminium external cladding, insulated with polyurethane and fitted with aluminium frame double glazed windows and front door with security double lock; graphics can be applied for sponsors, exhibition and business use.

  • two compact double beds...
  • storage space for bedding and cleaning equipment
  • a sliding table ... for dining for up to five people
  • flat screen television in the living/dining space
  • a shower and toilet cubicle
  • a kitchen area, which is fitted with electrical points and features a double hob, sink and extending tap, microwave, fridge and freezer units, three compartment waste unit, storage shelves, cutlery drawers with gentle return sprung slides and double level work surfaces
  • thermostat controlled ducted warm air heating, air conditioning, water heating
  • fire alarm and smoke detectors

m-ch units are available to purchase for delivery to geographical Europe at a guide price of EUR 25,000 to EUR 34,000 (subject to contract).

More images of the interior:
microcompact3 microcompact4 microcompact6 microcompact7

We've mentioned the home before in our This Week series. Back in June, we also linked to a video of the m-ch.

style: modern
size: 74 sf
price: EUR 25,000 - 34,000 (~$37,000-$50,000; $500-$675/sf)
bedrooms: 1
bathrooms: 1
how: complete modules

Related Posts:
   1. MoMA's Home Delivery gets a glowing review from the NY Times (Jul 18, 2008)
   2. KieranTimberlake's Cellophane House (Jul 14, 2008)
   3. Home Delivery blog goes live! (Mar 25, 2008)
   4. System3 from Oskar Leo Kaufmann and Albert Rüf (Jan 18, 2008)
   5. WIRED on small prefab (Jan 14, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green m-ch

Port-a-bach: shipping container holiday homes from New Zealand

Link to Port-a-bach: shipping container holiday homes from New Zealand

Port-a-bach is a product from atelierworkshop, a New Zealand firm:

Our architecture seeks to reveal the landscape and the environment through innovation and common sense.... Without compromising on design, we put priority on finding sustainable solutions.

The holiday home concept is built in a standard shipping container:

- portable,
- secure,
- high-level finish,
- designed to be environmentaly clean
- comparatively inexpensive,
- comfortably sleeps two adults and two children.
- immediate, flexible and long-term solution that enables you to use your land without investing in a permanent property commitment,
- quick and easy transportation (via truck or helicopter) and installation to any orientation with minimal impact on site,
- unfolding to create a living space and refolding to create a secure unit for in situ storage or relocation.

Additional features include:

- fully enclosed exterior steel shell (when folded up).
- appointed with large internal storage cupboards and shelves / stainless steel kitchen and fittings / bathroom with open shower, sink, composting toilet.
- interior fabric screen system gives the versatility of creating rooms within the large open living space :includes bunk beds, double bed room, dressing room, kitchen and bathroom
- exterior canvas screen system allows to shelter the deck area for comfortable indoor/outdoor flow and living.
- 6 concrete footings form a stable, non-invasive 'foundation', allowing you to situate the unit on a wide range of ground conditions.

Be sure to check out the video of the home unfolding on their site. likes the home and Shedworking explains the term 'bach.'

style: modern
bedrooms: "sleeps two adults and two children"
how: shipping containers

Related Posts:
   1. iPAD: more from New Zealand  (Jan 03, 2008)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small containers portable New Zealand

This week: Zenkaya, straw bales, and more

Link to This week: Zenkaya, straw bales, and more

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday discussed the Zenkaya prefab home from South Africa:

the home can be delivered in as little as 5 weeks.... [It comes] completely assembled, and all the owner would have to do is hook up the electric, the water and the sewer, and their home is ready to go.

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday covered the PowerHouse homes:

Our favorite, the “solar butterfly” roof design, collects rainwater, maximizes the use of daylight, and is fitted with solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity - all for about $100,000! found a prefab kit called the casa ti, not yet in production:

The structure is framed in high-recycled-content steel, in SIP form. You can buy casa ti in kit form or buy the plans to build it from scratch. Prices for the kit start at $20,000.

Architecture.MNP showed off the BaleHouse, which uses straw bales for walls.

Treehugger looks back: Three Years Ago In TreeHugger: Prefab Crazy.

Related Posts:
   1. Enviro Board: fancy straw-bale panels (Jan 02, 2008)
   2. CNET and the PowerPod (Oct 16, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green This Week South Africa

Zero House on gadget blogs

Link to Zero House on gadget blogs

The gadget blogs have taken a liking to the Zero House. From Yanko Design:

ZeroHouse is a great concept and for added enjoyment, can be customized with a variety of color and material combinations.

Gizmodo is a fan:

Not only is this Zero House by architect Scott Specht completely green, automatic and self-sufficient, but it looks so badass it could've come out of the movie Clockwork Orange.

CrunchGear also covered the home.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: kitHAUS, mkSolaire, containers and more (Apr 05, 2008)
   2. This week: zeroHouse, concepts and reduced prices (Dec 08, 2007)
   3. This week: French prefab, school, and more (Nov 17, 2007)
   4. This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept (Nov 03, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green

This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept

Link to This week: ASAP, Texas, and a zero-energy concept
Paul Bardagjy

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday took a break this week.

Inhabitat wrote about the ASAP House, which we will cover in more depth soon.

Bannaga covered a boathouse with a prefab steel structure that recently won an architecture award in Texas.

The blog also previewed a prefab concept called the Zero House:

ZeroHouse is a 650-square-foot prefabricated house designed to operate autonomously, with no need for utilities or waste connections. It generates its own electrical power, collects and stores rainwater, and processes all waste. Shipped to a site on two flatbed trailers, it can be field-erected in less than a day.

Related Posts:
   1. Zero House on gadget blogs (Nov 19, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green This Week

West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house

Link to West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house
© copyright 2007 Peter Bernheim

By far the most popular and exciting prefab presence at West Coast Green was info_smallMichelle Kaufmann and the info_smallmkLotus showhouse.

The show house was set right in front of San Francisco City Hall, out in the open for all to see. And see it people did. Visitors lined up to tour the home and looked to be waiting upwards of half an hour on Saturday's Homeowner Day (due to the home's size, the show staff were limiting the number of people in at any one time).

While the home was small, around 700 sf, it felt plenty roomy. The home featured a window wall system from NanaWall that opens accordion-style to create a near seamless indoor/outdoor room. The bathroom was luxurious for such a small home. And the ample outdoor living space (decks, patios, courtyards) was a welcome addition.

Some of the features and details that I saw as I toured the house:
• angled walls to make spaces feel larger
• translucent doors to divide spaces but not block all light
• high ceilings
• tons of glass
• control system for house lighting and temperature
• plants on the roof (a "living roof") help to limit rain runoff and provide natural insulation
• quality materials
• built in iPod audio system

All of these add-ons and options push the home out of many folks' price range though. For instance, the NanaWall system runs ~$1,500 per single panel (the mkLotus had xx). My understanding is that the home starts around $150,000, but can venture past $225k with all of the add-ons featured on the show home.

A note worth mentioning, and one repeated throughout the conference: these homes may seem expensive, but much of that is due to their "green" features, from rainwater catchment systems, to solar panels galore.

Jill and Emily at Inhabitat loved the house:

"Above and beyond all the green, however, the house is just a testament to thoughtful, smart design. Every material, system and design choice in the house seems to be thought out, and have purpose. The high ceilings, skylights, gently angled walls, floor to ceiling glass and copious daylight all work to make the 700 sf house feel a lot bigger and more spacious than it actually is."
They also uploaded a bunch of photos of the house to Flickr.

CBS 5 San Francisco offered a video report from the home.

With the mkLotus as the star attraction of the show, Michelle Kaufmann had a sort of celebrity aura to her. She spoke a number of times, on topics ranging from the show house to "Women in Green." She shows great enthusiasm for her work (and the work is prolific). The talks focused on the green aspects of the different MK products. Their work is separated into three categories:
• pre-configured options: pre-designed with finish and fixture options available
• custom designs: feature the MKD aesthetic but fully flexible in design configurations
• modern green communities: multi-family housing (which helps reduce costs significantly)

I'll share further info on a number of developments and new products from MKD in the coming weeks.

More West Coast Green coverage in the coming days.

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green 2008 coming September 25-27 (Aug 14, 2008)
   2. The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Nov 13, 2007)
   3. This week: Jeriko House, Drop House, and more (Oct 13, 2007)
   4. CNET visits the mkLotus (Oct 12, 2007)
   5. West Coast Green round-up (Oct 02, 2007)
   6. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small green MKD process conference West Coast Green mkLotus

This week: prototypes, why prefab and OMD

Link to This week: prototypes, why prefab and OMD

CubeMe wrote about the Drop House, a prefab prototype:

"Here is a Prototype of a really cool-looking portable house."
Several of the rooms pop out from the main house volume.

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday explained why they write about prefab.

Curbed LA wrote about an info_smallOMD prefab in Santa Monica:

"Green and tidy!"

We'll discuss Inhabitat's Prefab Friday post about the info_smallmkLotus in a separate post.

Jetson Green discussed another prefab prototype, the Tread Lightly House.

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model OMD small Los Angeles This Week mkLotus

Dwell on Design preview

Link to Dwell on Design preview

The Dwell on Design conference is this weekend in San Francisco.

We won't be there, but here's who will:
info_smallAlchemy Architects
info_smallEcoSteel, aka EcoContempo
info_smallEmpyrean International
info_smallHive Modular
info_smallMichelle Kaufmann
info_smallModern Cabana
info_smallRocio Romero Homes

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 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."

We know these vendors won't be attending:

Some prefab-specific events that will be worth checking out:
• September 15 and 16, 2:45 - 3:15: "Prefab Discussion Panel" hosted by Michael Sylvester of
• September 15, 2:00 - 2:30: "The Process Behind Prefab:The Design and Production of Green Modular Homes" with Jared Levy and Jason Davis of info_smallMarmol Radziner Prefab
• September 15, 3:30 - 4:00: "Creating the First LEED Platinum Home" with Steve Glenn of info_smallLivingHomes

what: Dwell on Design conference
where: Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, CA
when: September 14-16, 2007
registration: $20 for Exhibition Only pass, September 15-16. $895 for full conference and exhibition passport.
features: over 80 exhibitors and vendors

Related Posts:
   1. Dwell on Design 2009 at the end of June (Jun 19, 2009)
   2. Dwell on Design 2008 recap (Jun 11, 2008)
   3. Dwell on Design recap (Sep 24, 2007)
   4. Dwell on Design Conference (Aug 15, 2007)
   5. Dwell Magazine, Dwell Homes (Apr 17, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse model CleverHomes method kitHAUS LivingHomes OMD v2world v2flat Muji small LEED green tours Empyrean Alchemy Architects H-Haus Modern Cabana Rocio Romero Dwell on Design EcoSteel

MicroSystem homes: small but feature-packed

Link to MicroSystem homes: small but feature-packed

Mfinity offers the MicroSystem series of prefab structures, with options ranging from a small microSHED to the larger microHome.

From the Mfinity press release:

"The average American home is roughly 2,200 square feet yet the microHOME is less than a 100 square feet. A mix between a small house, a ship's cabin, and a travel trailer, it comes standard with a kitchenette, including a sink, stove, refrigerator and storage, as well as a private bathroom with a pass-thru shower and composting toilet. There are also a multitude of interior options and porch styles to choose from allowing the homeowner to personalize their own dwelling. With just a single 8 foot by 12 foot unit the microHOME can provide all the daily needs of three occupants."

Worth noting:

"Leading the prefab industry, our free delivery and set up service is a critical aspect of the microSYSTEM philosophy. No matter where you live within the contiguous United States you pay the same low price for your microSYSTEM."

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday offered some skepticism:

"It's hard to imagine how in the world a person (let alone a family!) could live sanely in just 100 square feet. Perhaps as a temporary shelter it would provide welcome relief, but in the long term we suspect anyone would crave some elbow room."

Michael Cannell weighed in on the Dwell blog:

"It feels like a cross between a backwoods cabin and a trailer - prefab with an ironical folksy hardly seems like a bargain, though delivery and installation are included."

Ecofriend covered the home. As did Land + Living.

model: microSHED
style: single room, detached storage shed
size: 96sf - 192sf
bedrooms: 0
bathrooms: 0
price: $15,995 - $33,995 (~$175/sf)
more info: microSHED brochure (pdf)

model: microSTUDIO
style: single room, detached structure(s)
size: 96sf - 192sf
bedrooms: 0
bathrooms: 0
price: $26,995 - $52,995 (~$275/sf)
more info: microSTUDIO brochure (pdf)

model: microCABANA
style: single room, detached structure(s)
size: 96sf - 192sf
bedrooms: 1
bathrooms: 1
price: $37,995 - $63,995 ($333/sf - $400/sf)
more info: microCABANA brochure (pdf)

model: microHOME
style: single room, detached structure(s) with kitchenette
size: 96sf - 192sf
bedrooms: 1
bathrooms: 1
price: $39,995 - $65,995 ($340/sf - $415/sf)
more info: microHOME brochure (pdf)

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small microSYSTEM

JoT House update and pricing

Link to JoT House update and pricing

A couple weeks back, I reported on the JoT House. I've received a few more details about the JoT line of products from Jim Vinson.

The reported "as low as $100/sf" price was for a spartan artists loft. Their PDF states "the average cost is $180 per square foot" excluding design fees, site prep, and materials shipping.

model: JoT House
style: modern
size: 1,344 sf
bedrooms: 1 - 3
price: starts at $210,000 + $35,000 design fee (~$180/sf)
how: SIPs

model: JoT L
style: modern
size: 1,370 sf
bedrooms: 1 - 3
price: starts at $260,000 + $35,000 design fee (~$215/sf)
how: SIPs

model: Mini-JoT
style: single room, detached structure
size: 128 sf
price: $45,000 - $75,000 plus $2,000 design fee ($350/sf - $600/sf)
notes: no plumbing, "trailer delivery option reclassifies the structure as a temporary building or vehicle, eliminating many permit issues"

Related Posts:
   1. The JoT House: cheap and flexible (Jul 31, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small cost process joT House

Not so trailer-like trailer

Link to Not so trailer-like trailer

This 'caravan' (UK English for trailer), from Retreat Homes can be parked almost anywhere, thanks to its wheels, but it's far from a trailer:

"Classified as a transportable building, it is ready to move into within days and can be situated in places that a conventional home cannot..."

Shedworking loved the idea:

"Although it's aimed at a holiday home market, there is a garden office option....with floor to ceiling windows, oak floors and kitchen or bathroom options, plus furniture suggestions."

company: Retreat Homes
style: modern trailer
size: 480 sf - 1,000 sf
bedrooms: 2 - 3
price: $103,000 - $200,000
finish level: complete, inside and out, including mechanical systems
features/finishes: wood floors, hardwood windows, steel tile roof, Bosch appliances
available: UK/Ireland
more info: brochure (pdf)

Related Posts:
   1. The miniHome: ready to roll (Jul 06, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small mobile home

Prefab goes to the mall: kitHAUS in San Diego

Link to Prefab goes to the mall: kitHAUS in San Diego

Here's an unexpected use of prefab. The folks at info_smallkitHAUS have completed a display pavilion at the Westfield UTC Mall in San Diego. Tom Sandonato, of kitHAUS, gave us the details:

"Westfield design department contacted us after picking up a postcard from the hospitality show in Las Vegas. The design firm RTKL came up with the initial concept and a company in Canada was originally hired to do the work, but was not able to perform due to the tight time frame and costs. With some minor design modifications our K2 modules were utilized and adapted...

We modified two K2 modules: one of the K2's as an open gazebo, the second as an all glass Gallery space.

Total time to install was two weeks with four weeks worth of design and shop fabrication...

In terms of promoting kitHAUS, we have a product display on site there inside the Gallery module, as well as vinyl art stating 'modules constructed by KitHAUS'."

Tom's partner Martin Wehmann added:
"Much of the fervor in the marketplace for prefab is directed towards residential uses, but this shows how the kitHAUS modular structures can be used very successfully in commercial applications as well — achieving the design aspects of the project with a very short installation timeline.

These are the very same components we use to create the K3 units that are available for residential accessory structures. The K3 is large enough to be used as an outdoor studio, an office, a kids play room, etc — its uses are limitless, and with its size, it fits below the permitting requirements of most municipalities.

The kitHAUS K3 unit will be on display at the upcoming Dwell on Design show in San Francisco September 14-16."

We really like the kitHAUS's aluminum extrusion and clamping system, and look forward to seeing their display next time we're in San Diego.

Related Posts:
   1. LA Times on mini prefabs (Jun 18, 2009)
   2. Prefab goes retail: buy a kitHAUS at Design Within Reach (Feb 14, 2008)
   3. The Modular Housing System (May 10, 2007)
   4. A house for you and one for your dog too (Mar 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: kitHAUS small MHS

The JoT House: cheap and flexible

Link to The JoT House: cheap and flexible

The California desert seems to draw a lot of prefab prototypes. The JoT House from Yeh+Jerrard LLC is actually named after its prototype location, Joshua Tree, CA. Two original prototypes were built in 2004 in the city and a third was built near Los Angeles.

"Rooms are separated by movable partitions making it easy to convert the house from a one-bedroom loft to a three-bedroom home. The house is planned around a central utility core that houses the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry facilities; this 'box-within-a-box' design centralizes the major mechanical systems, allows for a variety of room configurations and keeps the costs down."

The JoT House website features some cool materials, including a step-by-step depiction (pdf) of the construction process.

I emailed the company on July 18 to request pricing info; no reply. Documentation claims that the price can be "as low as $100 /sf", but that's basically useless information.

model: JoT House
style: modern
size: 1,344 sf
bedrooms: 1 - 3
how: SIPs

model: JoT L
style: modern
size: 1,370 sf
bedrooms: 1 - 3
how: SIPs

model: Mini-JoT
style: single room, detached structure
size: 128 sf
notes: no plumbing

(Hat tip:

Related Posts:
   1. JoT House update and pricing (Aug 21, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small joT House

This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus

Link to This week: Micro Compact village, WIRED, iT House, and mkLotus

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday showed off a cool village of info_smallmicro compact homes:

"We often get comments about how difficult it would be to live in some of the Prefab Friday homes that we have featured, and none have received more criticism than the Micro Compact Home (m-ch)...But the proof is in the pudding, and in 2006, the Technical University of Munich in Germany installed a small village of seven of these homes for six students and a professor to live in for a full year."

The WIRED LivingHome buzz has made its way to Australian blog GreenFoot:

"It's the sort of house that both myself and my husband would love - me the green aspects and him the techy-gadgets. Although we wouldn't need as much room or as many bathrooms.

The Wired Home is described as a modernist home in an exclusive enclave of Los Angeles that allows luxury and the environment to live together in harmony.

Sounds pretty cool huh?"

The Good Human's Prefab Wednesday covered the iT House from info_smallTaalman Koch:
" sure is a gorgeous example of what can be done with metal and glass."

Home by Sunset is a fan of Michelle Kaufmann's info_smallmkLotus:

"Now she's designed a prefab that's as green as possible. I think it's terrific. Note the sod roof, the way accordion doors open entire walls to expand the living space, the sunshades, and the photovoltaic panels."
The post also confirms that the house will be showcased outside San Francisco City Hall during the West Coast Green building conference.

Related Posts:
   1. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
   2. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
   3. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
   4. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   5. The iT House does some soul-searching (Apr 06, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green MKD iT house This Week mkLotus m-ch Taalman Koch

Quon Modular: a room at a time

Link to Quon Modular: a room at a time

info_smallQuon Modular is a semi-custom prefab system from Australia. Each room is a (mostly) self-contained module, measuring 5 m x 3.1 m (16 ft x 10 ft). Buy exactly what you need placed side-by-side, stacked, or each by itself.

Room options and prices:
info_smallBedroom, ~$31,000
info_smallKitchen, ~$48,000
info_smallBathroom, ~$40,000
info_smallMaster Bedroom, ~$32,000
info_smallMulti-purpose, ~$28,000 loves the concept:

"For me, this is the simplest, most efficient system yet devised for a customized, prefabricated house. Design your house using their standard components, place the order, and ten weeks later it's delivered."

Few prefabs offer such a flexible approach. The info_smallweeHouse series from info_smallAlchemy Architects allows for the addition of specialized modules, such as the sleepTight, but their modules vary in size. info_smallv2world was offering a similar product in their info_smallv2shell, but last we heard, they were reworking their product line.

company: info_smallQuon Modular
style: modern
size: each module is ~140 sf
price: starts at ~$150,000 for 4 modules (br, bath, kitchen, multi-purpose)
how: modules
finish level: complete, inside and out, including light fixtures, utilities, and finish

(More coverage: Treehugger)

Exchange rate used: $A1.168 = US$1.00

Related Posts:
   1. CA Boom roundup 1: confusion and flux (Apr 02, 2007)
   2. Itsy Bitsy weeHouse (Mar 26, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse model method v2world small system Australia Quon

The miniHome: ready to roll

Link to The miniHome: ready to roll

info_smallSustain Design Studio has designed a pretty cool product: the info_smallminiHome. Part trailer, part house, the miniHome is ultra-portable, but also ultra-stylish and as prefab as you can get:

"Recipe for a good idea:

  1. Take the familiar - The lowly Travel Trailer
  2. Build it to last, and be easy to maintain
  3. Make 350 sf feel like 600 sf
  4. Use only Green materials
  5. Add Off-Grid, Solar and Wind systems
  6. Let it run on biodiesel
  7. Keyword: Multi-functional
  8. Keep it extremely light on the land
  9. Make it beautiful

Combine all of the above into a package easily deliverable by truck anywhere in North America, that can set up on arrival in less than an hour."

Also worth checking out: the miniHome blog, miniHomage.

model: info_smallminiHomeSOLO
style: modern/trailer
size: 350 sf
bedrooms: sleeps 5
price: starts at $107,460 ($307/sf ++)
how: SIPs, steel frame undercarriage
finish level: complete, inside and out, including mechanical systems
features/finishes: adjustable roof canopy, commercial grade rubber flooring, stainless steel kitchen, fabric blinds, sleeping loft
available: Canada, U.S.
options/extras: wind turbine, solar panels, composting toilet, wood flooring, carpet tile, custom sofa, dressers, television
warranty: 1 year
more info: brochure (pdf)

Related Posts:
   1. For Sale: Sustain miniHome prototype (Aug 04, 2009)
   2. miniHome introduces the miniHome DUO SE (Jan 04, 2008)
   3. Not so trailer-like trailer (Aug 08, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green miniHome portable for sale

1960s prefab: the Industrialized House

Link to 1960s prefab: the Industrialized House

Back in 1960, designers George Nelson & Co. "threw out the old-fashioned and inefficient ideas inherent in many of [the day's] conventional houses." The design took advantage of the growing modern movement. One can easily see parallels with today's prefab ideals:

"They concentrated their thinking on greatly improved performance, mass production materials, extreme flexibility and a minimum of building parts..."

The Industrialized House featured:
• small modular cubes, combined with "extender units"
• "assembly-line built and put together quickly on site"
• lightweight anodized aluminum
• a screwjack leveling system for uneven ground
• easily disassembled and moved to another site
• translucent plastic tops

Large homes would be formed by assembling a number of the cubes in large groupings, with air space between:

"... to provide the utmost in privacy and quiet ... Nelson's solution was to separate the rooms and join them by corridors made of the smaller extender units. Since the cube house offers complete design freedom, it can be perfectly adjusted to the building site to provide the desired seclusion and quiet."

While the Industrialized House never caught on, similar structural systems shows up in more recent prefabs, like the info_smallkitHAUS or the steel-framed modules of info_smallMarmol Radziner.

(Hat tip: Science and Mechanics Magazine (out-of-print) via Modern Mechanix via

Related Posts:
   1. Historic Prefab: Sears Homes (Jul 26, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: kitHAUS small historical system process Marmol Radziner

This week: Austrian prefab, zero-emissions, and more tiny prefab

Link to This week: Austrian prefab, zero-emissions, and more tiny prefab

Jetson Green showed off photos of the info_smallEspace mobile, a prefab from Austria.

Inhabitat reported on the Lighthouse, the UK's first zero-emission home, which is built from SIPs:

"The Lighthouse is a two bedroom, two and a half storey house, with a floor area of about 100m2 [~ 1,076sf]. It does some things just a bit differently from the standard housing model such as locating all the sleeping areas at ground level. This allows the living areas to be located at the top, where they can make use of most of the natural light coming in through the windows and skylights. The curved roof sweeps down providing the living areas with a double height ceiling, making the occupant feel as though they are in a generous open-plan house, and concealing the rather tight and compact geometry of the house."

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday reported on the "Top 5 Tiniest Prefabs," a subject we've been talking a lot about recently.

Haute*Nature reported on the info_smallH-Haus models and their green options.

The Good Human has a new series called "Prefab Wednesday" and covered the Ray Kappe LivingHome this week:

"Ever since we saw that this house was being built just a short ways from here, we have driven by it a bunch of times to marvel at it. This house is beautiful if nothing else..."

(Yes, we cheated. We posted this on Monday but set the date to Saturday consistent with our "this week" series.)

Related Posts:
   1. This week: LV Series, refrigerator panels, and Michelle Kaufmann (Jun 30, 2007)
   2. Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios (Apr 16, 2007)
   3. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
   4. The H-Haus Cubes (Mar 28, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green H-Haus This Week Espace mobile Austria

Shedworking: a new blog

Link to Shedworking: a new blog

It amazes me how many companies offer some sort of modern shed. We've covered prefab sheds and other small houses in the past. Now there's a blog to satisfy your every prefab-shed desire!

Alex Johnsons's Shedworking is "the only daily-updated guide to the lifestyles of homeworkers in sheds and shedlike atmospheres around the world." Not all of the sheds featured are prefab, but the UK site is still worth a look.

The TS1 got an enthusiastic recommendation from Shedworker:

"The building is everything you'd expect from a timber flatpack (modular, customisable, portable, flat packed, renewable, recyclable, and with low emission materials) except it's built around a lightweight Smorgon stainless steel framework and PIR panels made from a fire-resistant urethane foam. It is, give or take a few cms, a 3m cube with adjustable legs and you can add modules together to make it bigger. A solar power system is optional."

Links: Smorgon stainless steel; PIR (Polyisocyanurate) by Stancold

By coincidence, I received an email from Alex while working on this post.  I'll give him the last word:

"I also produce a bimonthly pdf magazine called The Shed for people who work in sheds and shedlike atmospheres. At the moment I am organising the first National Shed Week in the UK in collaboration with"

(Hat tip: Future House Now featured a few models in a recent post.)

Related Posts:
   1. More small prefab: Metroshed (Jun 19, 2007)
   2. Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios (Apr 16, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small website

A New Twist on Adobe

Link to A New Twist on Adobe

We've reported on disaster relief housing before. Prefab methods are ideally suited for quick, cheap housing in far flung, resource-starved areas. An organization named CalEarth (California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) has developed a method of home building that requires little more than the earth present at a homesite. 

CalEarth's designs are based on a proprietary product called Superadobe Earthbags. The bags come in widths ranging from 12" to 26" and can be ordered up to a mile long. Combined with barbed-wire and earth from the site, the bags create super-strong structures:

"To build simple emergency and safe structures in our backyards, to give us maximum safety with minimum environmental impact, we must choose natural materials and, like nature itself, build with minimum materials to create maximum space, like a beehive or a sea shell. The strongest structures in nature which work in tune with gravity, friction, minimum exposure and maximum compression, are arches, domes and vault forms. And they can be easily learned and utilize the most available material on earth: Earth."

CalEarth has experimented with a number of designs and implementations using Superadobe, ranging from the Eco-Dome house, aka the "Moon Cocoon", to emergency shelters. Features of the Eco-Dome include:
• Built from local earth-filled Superadobe coils (soil-cement or lime-stabilized earth).
• Tree free.
• Can be repeated and joined together to form larger homes and courtyard houses.
• Can be built by a team of 3-5 persons.
• Designed with the sun, shade and wind in mind for passive cooling and heating.
• Solar energy and radiant heating may be incorporated.

(Hat tip: Inhabitat shared a bunch of photos and thoughts on the design last week.)

Related Posts:
   1. Global Village Shelters (May 09, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small green system process relief housing

More small prefab: Metroshed

Link to More small prefab: Metroshed

CubeMe found another company, producing small prefab outbuildings. We've covered info_smallModern Shed, info_smallModern Cabana and info_smallEcospace, and now there is the info_smallMetroCabin from info_smallMetroShed:

"The simple and sophisticated design allows it to exist easily in an urban setting, while the quiet strength and sturdy attitude are comfortable in a more rugged environment."

name: MetroCabin by MetroShed
where: Orlando, FL
size: 104sf
cost: $29,500 to $34,950
construction type: pre-assembled conventional stud-framed panels
standard materials: wood doors and windows
options: window screens, wall finishes, door and trim color, exterior color, porch, electrical

Update: fixed the picture (thanks to a commenter for pointing out the mistake)

Related Posts:
   1. Small homes from Sweden (Oct 17, 2008)
   2. MetroShed introduces smaller MetroCabin (Jan 24, 2008)
   3. Shedworking: a new blog (Jun 22, 2007)
   4. Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios (Apr 16, 2007)
4 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small cost MetroShed Modern Shed Modern Cabana Ecospace prefab shed prefab studio

And more yurts....

Link to And more yurts....

I've been reading more about Yurts, and I'm beginning to be won over.

The Yurt Foundation lays out the key advantages:

"The roof structure, with its compression ring and tension band, is an amazing architectural design requiring no internal support system, thereby leaving the yurt open and spacious inside....

Yurts are special because they are portable. Central Asian nomads put their gers up in an hour or less. Modern canvas yurts can be set up in a day. To have a shelter that can be put up quickly and then taken down and moved as one's situation changes is a distinct advantage in our transient culture."

Want to look inside? Pacific Yurts, Inc. features a virtual tour. (Quicktime required: drag your mouse left or right to swivel the camera around in a circle. If you zoom in, you can also move up and down a bit.)

Wikipedia includes some great photos of traditional Mongolian yurts. This French company has even more photos showing the traditional process for making yurts by hand.

Related Posts:
   1. Yurts! (May 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model method small green historical yurts website

Prefab for the kids

Link to Prefab for the kids

While you are planning your prefab dream house, your kids might get a little jealous. All the Best Bits, a blog about "everything", wrote a post on wild treehouses on Monday. If you buy your kids one of these treehouses, they'll probably love you for life (or at least until they are too old to fit through the front door of their Scallywag Sloop).

Prices aren't listed on the site, but one can only guess that these treehouses cost a pretty penny.

On a similar note, the New York Times ran a lengthy article (subscription required) on treehouses a few weeks back. The article discussed how treehouses aren't just for kids anymore:

" engineering breakthrough developed by conference participants, the so-called Garnier Limb, allowed treehouses greater stability and longer life, and before a spate of how-to and coffee-table books helped popularize them. Within a few years, elaborate treehouses, many costing upwards of $100,000, were becoming almost faddish....

As souped-up treehouses have proliferated -- there are now at least several hundred of them in the United States, according to Mr. Garnier -- their designs and functions have become more diverse...[some treehouses] are used for weddings, tai chi and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings."

Related Posts:
   1. This week: more Maison and more treehouses (Jun 03, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small fun

ICF buildings systems

Link to ICF buildings systems
Michael van Meter

I received an email from my friend/colleague Michael van Meter the other day. He and other volunteers are building homes in Armenia for charity using a unique pseudo-prefab building process:

"The goal of the people I am working with is basically to revolutionize the affordable housing market in the 3rd world. We are here in Armenia to build 2 houses on a site administered by a group called ARDA (Armenian Relief and Development Agency). This is an NGO started by an LA businessman by the name of Steve Lazarian. He has spent 17 years and millions of his own dollars here trying to help the Armenian people progress from the conditions that prevail here after the demise of the Soviet Union...

One of the things that is desperately needed here is some type of affordable (and quickly constructed) quality housing. Enter my pal George who has many years of building expertise and has a heart for the poor of the world....George has been studying a product called Kiva Block for a couple of years now and has come up with a design that makes this product potentially viable. Kiva is made of Styrofoam of all things and goes together rather like Lego blocks. Think of a concrete block (CMU) that is 12 in high, 8 in thick and 48 in long....It is inexpensive, strong and quick. We have been working here 9 days now and are putting the roof on the first building and are going to start the roof on the 2nd tomorrow...pretty fast for a 2 bedroom 650 sf dwelling eh?

So anyway here we are setting a land speed record at building houses and perhaps there is a market for this thing in the world..."

I've seen products like the Kiva Block before, so I did some research. The generic term for such products is Insulating Concrete Forms. Builders assemble the (usually) styrofoam forms into walls on site; concrete is then poured into the forms, which are left in place. The form acts as a quick and precise way to form a wall, AND as the wall's insulation. A durable exterior finish is required; ICF homes "will accept any traditional exterior finish including vinyl or wood siding, stucco and brick." Interior finishes match those of typical construction. This page has countless photos of different ICF products and processes.

Thanks Michael!

Update: By coincidence, ICF receives good coverage in the June issue of Residential Design & Build Magazine (hat tip: Materialicious).

0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: method small inexpensive process charity relief housing


Link to Yurts!

I don't know what it is with yurts right now, but apparently, they are "in". Two different companies building yurts came across my prefab feeds. Then, a day later, Core77, a design blog, covered a third company producing a prefab yurt product:

"The Mongols once had the largest contiguous empire in history, with their conquests covering 12 million square miles. While little is left of that legacy, their contribution to design remains in the form of yurts....

Modern yurts now exist in the form of The Nomad, an eco-friendly yurt kit designed by Stephanie Smith and sold by Ecoshack. You can put one up yourself in about an hour, and you don't need to conquer anybody to call them home."

The products vary from company to company; so, if you want a prefab yurt, at least you've got options.

name: The Nomad
style: tent-like
price: $6,800
size: ~150 sf
br: "sleeps 3-4"

name: Yurtco
style: secondary dwelling
price: $4,879 - $15,597 (excludes finishes + options)
size: 113 sf - 805 sf
br: varies

style: house
price: $12,536 - $85,366 (excludes finishes)
size: 291 sf - 2836 sf
br: varies

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Lifepod and weeHouses in the UK (Sep 06, 2008)
   2. This week: Ideabox, Method Homes, and unconventional (Jul 26, 2008)
   3. And more yurts.... (Jun 11, 2007)
   4. Tiny Houses (May 23, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small yurts

Tiny Houses

Link to Tiny Houses

Back in February, the New York Times published "Think Small", a story all about small second homes:

"A wave of interest in such small dwellings — some to serve, like the Shepherds' home, as temporary housing, others to become space-saving dwellings of a more permanent nature — has prompted designers and manufacturers to offer building plans, kits and factory-built houses to the growing number of small-thinking second-home shoppers. Seldom measuring much more than 500 square feet, the buildings offer sharp contrasts to the rambling houses that are commonplace as second homes."

The article featured a number of prefab models, including the info_smallweeHouse by info_smallAlchemy Architects:

"For $90,000...Scott McGlasson...and his wife, Lisa...bought a 700-square-foot weeHouse....It has plumbing, tall glass doors, Andersen windows, laminate flooring, recessed lighting and Ikea cabinets. It is comfortable and attractive. 'But people confuse prefab with inexpensive,' Mr. McGlasson said. 'On a middle-class budget, this was doable, but not easy.' They bought the land — a small lot on Lake Pequaywan in northern Minnesota — in 2002 for $80,000. It already had a septic system, a well and access to utilities.

One rectangular module serves as the main floor; above it is an additional square module that serves as a second bedroom, which must be entered from outdoors via a ship's ladder. Guests love it because it's separate from the rest of the house. 'And because they can lock out our three kids,' Mr. McGlasson said."

There have been a number of blog posts about, or inspired by, the article since then. Trend Agitator added some commentary:
"Luxurious small dwellings are the next wave. Defined as less than 700 sq ft, these dwellings are increasingly more aesthetic and available thru prefab manufacturers. As consumers rethink their priorities, these abbreviated structures motivate occupants to edit precisely and define themselves against the open space of the land rather than the footprint of the shelter."

Treehugger criticized the fact that most of the homes discussed in the article are used as second, or vacation, homes:

"Unfortunately, many of the homes profiled in the article are second or vacation homes, further stigmatizing the small footprint prefab as something that can only be used for a period of weeks, not the whole year."

Inhabitat shared similar thoughts:

"Some of those who have found themselves comfortable in these tiny houses have purchased them as second homes, which we find a bit ironic. The romantic notion of a large vacation plot of land, barely flecked with a 10' x 8' footprint is nice, but probably not exactly what Small House Society represents. Do you really get credit for adjusting your lifestyle for the sake of a small house — if you own two?"

Blogs were covering the article as late as last week. Alt^House, a blog covering "news and information on non-traditional home options", covered a guy who lives in a tiny house:

"Most of us think of a 500 square foot apartment as pretty darned small, but what would you say to living a house where the entire area measures only 96 square feet?"

Related Posts:
   1. The New York Times looks at small prefab and more small prefab (Sep 11, 2008)
   2. Yurts! (May 28, 2007)
   3. Itsy Bitsy weeHouse (Mar 26, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: weeHouse model small inexpensive Alchemy Architects prefab shed prefab studio

This week: Seattle, modular home history, tiny footprints and more

Link to This week: Seattle, modular home history, tiny footprints and more

Milwaukee firm info_smallVetter Denk Architects designed the prefab info_smallAperture House back in 2002, and it showed up in a couple blog posts this week. Architechnophilia posted an image. CubeMe posted the same image with some comments:

"Aperture House is a transparent jewel box, rigorously geometric and exquisitely scaled. Peer through the three-story glass curtain walls at either end of the 16-by-52-foot house and you can see the lake shimmering beyond. It is [a] sleek prefab vacation home on Moose Lake which won a top designing award and lots of interest from the public."

A blog named Seattle Prefab has been around since January, but it's just now showing up in blog search engines. "Seattle Prefab is run by two couples who are planning to build a mini-community of prefab homes in the Seattle area." This week, they discussed their construction schedule and the options they are considering for the driveway.

Modular home manufacturer Pac Van runs a blog and has posted a series on the "Evolution of modular buildings." This week, the blog discussed prefab's modest history and the flexibility of modular buildings:

"Architects and designers now create plans and configure modular space with the same freedom as for a bricks-and-mortar building. Today, a modular building might be a bullet-proof security kiosk, a two-story modular in-plant office, or an 11,500 sf sales center.

Gone, too, are the drab exteriors of the early years. Any exterior that stick-built construction uses, modular buildings can replicate."

Kisho Kurokawa's Capsule Tower got a little more attention this week from Core 77:
"The good thing about cities is they re-invent themselves. The bad thing about cities is, they reinvent themselves.

While world capitols like Paris and Rome are pretty careful with what they tear down, New York and Tokyo have always been less hesitant about replacing the old with the new."

Jetson Green posted on the info_smallmicro compact home we saw in Wired last week:
"m-ch was designed to meet the growing demand for short-stay living. I think Horden's on to something. Right now, there's a horde of 7 m-chs that TUM students and staff occasionally stay in."

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday shows a prefab dwelling with a tiny footprint:

"I-RISE is a multi-story prefab residential unit designed to have the smallest possible footprint, both on the site and in an ecological sense. Its intention is to create a modular structure that is simple to build, yet flexible enough to accommodate the changing needs of its occupants."

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Seattle, and a new prefab concept (Jul 14, 2007)
   2. This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more (May 05, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: model small demolition historical modern Vetter Denk Architects Aperture House wood

The Modular Housing System

Link to The Modular Housing System
© 2007 Peter Bernheim

A while back, I wrote about the models from info_smallkitHAUS. The product features an aluminum framing system called info_smallMHS (Modular Housing System) developed by US Systems LLC:

"Our modules are constructed on site in a matter of days, not months, and because of [the framing system's] lightweight properties can get into the hardest [to] reach places, without heavy equipment."

I had the chance to see the system for myself at the CA Boom show, and thought it was quite impressive. Clamps are used to hold the structural members together; bolts are only used to tighten the clamps. The kitHAUS reps did inform me that power tools are necessary to tighten the bolts, as hand tools wouldn't achieve the proper torque.

The system manufacturer's website has images, and even a cool video (MHS.WMV at the bottom of the main page) to show how the system comes together. For those interested, there are detailed reports on the structural testing of the system.

Related Posts:
   1. Prefab goes to the mall: kitHAUS in San Diego (Aug 06, 2007)
   2. A house for you and one for your dog too (Mar 28, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: method kitHAUS small system MHS

Global Village Shelters

Link to Global Village Shelters

I just came across a product called the Global Village Shelter. These are not high-design, multi-thousand dollar homes; they are prefab disaster relief housing. I thought the product was impressive, especially how easily they come together (stills plus 10-min video). The company explains:

"The Global Village Shelter (herein 'GVS') is an alternative to current solutions for disaster relief housing. The present disaster relief field relies heavily on tent and tarp structures; these structures offer little protection from outdoor elements and no sense of personal space. The GVS is a rigid structure that can be assembled in the field by two people in approximately15 to 20 minutes. The instructions are simple graphics with limited text. The user simply unpacks the base and the roof modules and assembles the GVS on site."

The shelter comes in 67 sf and 225 sf versions. Features worth noting (for the 67sf version):
• the weight of the entire package is 170 lbs.
• cost just $550
• have withstood winds up to 80 mph
• last 18 months or longer

Related Posts:
   1. A New Twist on Adobe (Jun 21, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small inexpensive relief housing

Prefabs get demolished

Link to Prefabs get demolished

A few blog posts popped up last week about a Japanese 'prefab icon', soon to be demolished. At Treehugger, Lloyd Alter described the building:

"Kisho Kurokawa's 1972 Capsule Tower was, along with Moshe Safdie's Habitat in Montreal, the pioneer in modernist multiple unit prefab. 140 capsules were attached by high tension bolts to a central core. Each of the tiny rooms had built in TV's and reel-to-reel tape decks, washrooms and were pre-assembled in a factory then hoisted by crane and fastened to the concrete core shaft."
Inhabitat quickly chimed in (and shows some more photos):
"Two weeks ago, the decision was made to replace the Capsule Tower with a new 14-story tower, despite resistance from Kurokawa, who has been touting the flexibility of the building and even proposed the modernization of the tower by replacing old capsules with more modern units."
The Independet UK has a few more details about the project:
"...the demolition campaigners complain that Mr Kurokawa's units are too difficult to maintain. Drainage and water pipes are damaged, and plans to unclip the capsules and refurbish them have never come to fruition. Residents are also afraid that asbestos used in construction poses a health risk....Its 140 units are so small and functional that they have been disparagingly compared to the interior of a Nasa space shuttle."
And also includes some good reasons as to why the tower shouldn't be demolished:
" remains a destination for tourists interested in design, particularly from Europe, where the Nagakin tower's principles are being championed. The British Government has argued that a modified version of this modular housing could help to meet housebuilding targets. Such is the demand to see the tower that a mock-up of one of the capsules is open to visitors."

Some searching around the web returned some recent news about UK prefabs being demolished. Back in January, TreeHugger reported on a similar large prefab building that they said might be torn down:

"...there were a few problems, apparently including putting the stronger, heavier ground floor units on the top and vice versa, described in the Guardian as 'fatal mismatches'....if the cost of repairing the fault is excessive, they will consider demolishing the whole structure."
UK site Building confirmed that the development would be razed:
"Last month, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation announced that it was to demolish the cutting-edge Caspar development in Leeds, which has been standing for less than two years. This type of event — unfortunate but probably quite rare — colours views on modern methods of construction..."

While they aren't modern "prefab", classic post-war modular housing is also being replaced in the UK. News Shopper reports that the residents are protesting the demolition:

"Eighty-three homeowners and tenants have signed an online petition on the Downing Street website, calling for their prefab estate in Catford, built after the Second World War, to be saved....It would cost £8.4m over the next 30 years to deal with repairs and improvements."
And the BBC ran a story discussing the demolition and philosophizing about prefab in general:
"Property prices are sky high in London, and 100,000 new homes are urgently needed in the South-East. So are prefabs the answer - or an ugly blast from the past?...Prefabs are quick to build, environmentally-sound, and an architect's dream. But almost always they cost more to build than traditional homes. And, when damaged, it is often hard to repair them. The original WW2 prefabs were only designed to last 15 years."

Related Posts:
   1. MoMA's Home Delivery gets a glowing review from the NY Times (Jul 18, 2008)
   2. Historic Prefab: How to identify a Sears Kit Home (Dec 17, 2007)
   3. Historic Prefab: Iron prefab for sale (Nov 02, 2007)
   4. Historic Prefab: Sears Homes (Jul 26, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: small demolition historical article

This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more

Link to This week: LOT-EK returns, a prefab for Second Lifers, and more

Inhabitat's Prefab Friday has another prefab product from info_smallLOT-EK:

"In terms of architectural features, Lot-ek has created a system that defies the rigidity of an industrial shipping container, providing surprising flexibility in both size and functions. The CHK system comes in two different series- Compact and Loft, and boasts 8 x 8 floor-to-ceiling windows, built-in closets, and wood floors. The best part is its expansion possibilities- regardless of the configuration, it's easy to add on another container to accommodate a home office (or more family members) down the line."

For those who can't afford a prefab house in real life, apparently prefab homes are now available on Second Life (a 3-D virtual world).

A blog called A PreFab Project is documenting the construction of a prefab home by info_smallResolution: 4 Architecture. The most recent post discussed the "First Glitch" of the project:

"John from Res4 called yesterday to say that the factory got the wrong size floor trusses....The factory had apparently framed all the walls and was ready to begin the floor when [they] realized the webbed trusses were too short; so now they're stuck. If they wait for new trusses to arrive, this spot in the assembly line is stuck - no work for the factory. So Jason called me to basically say please allow us to use 2x12s as trusses so we can keep working as scheduled..."

One of the many LiveModern blogs featured some good photos of a SIP-based project throughout the framing process.

Wired shows off a really cool ultra-compact dwelling, available in Europe.

On This is the Last..., blogger Jilly writes about prefab models, including info_smallMichelle Kaufmann's info_smallBreezehouse:

"I've been doing some house hunting and I came across this modern prefabricated home in Sunset Magazine. I think its really cool how they are making this house using recycled materials, you can add solar panels really easily, the living room has a wall that folds so that your room extends to the patio. Its made to have good ventilation and where they could they used recycled materials.

Then my husband showed me this prefab (in Wired magazine) called the 'Loblolly House' and I thought it was just gorgeous."

The Nashua Telegraph reran an article from the Sacramento Bee about the changing perception of 'prefab':
"Factory-built housing is touting environmental benefits and a fresh look to win a new generation of buyers as the industry continues to fight an image of cheap design and endure the same housing slowdown pummeling conventional home builders."

Jetson Green ran a post about info_smallDavid Hertz's LivingHome making it onto the Met Home Design 100 list:

"To me, this is a no-brainer. If I were out of college and established in business, I'd plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum). I'd buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I'd let all my friends stay in it."
And Inhabitat pointed out that the Ray Kappe LivingHome appeared on the AIA/COTE list of the top ten green buildings.

Related Posts:
   1. This week: Seattle, modular home history, tiny footprints and more (May 12, 2007)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Apr 27, 2007)
   3. The Dwell Home by Resolution 4: Architecture (Apr 18, 2007)
   4. This week: Japanese prefab, SIPs, and the greenness of big homes (Apr 14, 2007)
0 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , Tags: LivingHomes small green MKD This Week Ray Kappe David Hertz David Hertz LivingHomes RK1 RK2 RK3 RK4 RK5 LOT-EK

Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios

Link to Modern sheds, cabanas, and studios

I previously mentioned info_smallModern Shed and their prefab info_smallStudio Sheds. Since then, I've come across another domestic company offering similar products: Modern Cabana. I just ran across a UK company doing pretty much the same thing.

The goal of the Modern Sheds is "to be assembled quickly and with few tools. All models are packed flat with all the panels pre-built and finished." Their info_smallStudio Shed "comes with pre-insulated walls and roof panels" for purposes such as an office or art studio. They also have plans to sell larger info_smallDwelling Sheds, ranging from 475sf to 1,260sf. These will feature the same construction and include bathrooms and kiitchens.

where: Seattle, WA
size: 48sf - 120sf
cost: $4,995 (no frills Garden Shed base price) to $11,980 (120sf Studio Shed base price)
construction type: pre-assembled conventional stud-framed panels
standard materials: fiberglass doors, aluminum windows, metal roof, concrete siding, maple plywood
options: insulation($750), exterior color, door and trim color, floor color, sliding glass door ($500), deck($1,025 to $1,375), additional window ($550)

Each info_smallModern Cabana similarly "comes pre-assembled so it can be deployed in a matter of days - without permits or slab foundation in most communities." Multiple units can be connected "to create expanded floor plans ranging from 100 to 1000+ square feet." Installation can be handled by the buyer, a contractor, or the Modern Cabana team.

where: San Francisco, CA
size: 100sf - 160sf
cost: $8,500 (100sf Cabana base price) to $14,500 (160sf Cabana base price)
construction type: pre-assembled conventional stud-framed panels
standard features: OSB floor and walls, aluminum sliding glass door, polycarbonate windows, membrane roof, cedar siding, electrical junction boxes
options: polycarbonate roof($2,500), insulation($250-$1,000), siding wood, interior maple siding($600), fiberglass french door($2,950), bamboo flooring($1,000)

UK-based info_smallEcospace offers similar dwellings, at higher prices. They have four standard sizes ranging from 10' x 9' (~$35,000) to 22' x 9' (~$48,830). Their designs are also a little more interesting, but probably aren't worth the shipping across the ocean.

Related Posts:
   1. LA Times on mini prefabs (Jun 18, 2009)
   2. Sunset Modern Cottage on display June 12 - July 19, 2009 (Jun 10, 2009)
   3. This week: container video, WIELER, sheds and more (Apr 12, 2008)
   4. This week: Habode, historical prefab and more (Nov 24, 2007)
   5. This week: Modern Shed and the Marmol factory (Oct 20, 2007)
   6. This week: Austrian prefab, zero-emissions, and more tiny prefab (Jun 23, 2007)
   7. Shedworking: a new blog (Jun 22, 2007)
   8. More small prefab: Metroshed (Jun 19, 2007)
   9. CA Boom roundup 3: the eccentrics (Apr 03, 2007)
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