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Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 3

This blog series profiles a new prefab development in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood—a LEED Platinum-targeted building containing 23 "micro-studios." Built in a California factory in a month and assembled on-site in just four days, these 300-square-foot units are paving the path to a new approach to prefab—and to small-space city living. PART THREE: Factory construction and on-site assembly. Harriet Street represents the culmination of ZETA Communities’s original vision to build ultra-green multifamily and urban prefab buildings. Prefab multifamily projects have been built all over the world as global developers have realized the benefits; witness this time-lapse video (with almost five million views) of a 30-story modular building erected in just 15 days in China.
October 24, 2012
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Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 1

This seven-part blog series profiles a new prefab development in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood—a LEED Platinum-targeted building containing 23 "micro-studios". Built in a California factory in a month and assembled on-site in just four days, these 300-square-foot units are paving the path to a new approach to prefab—and to small-space city living. PART ONE: Project Conception.     The rise of prefab in the U.S. over the past several years has been sparked by great design, sustainability, and the promise of speedier, more efficient construction methods. The next wave of prefab, according to Zeta Communities, a San Francisco design-build firm, and Panoramic Interests, a Berkeley-based developer, will be driven by growth in cities, multifamily urban infill, and transit-oriented development. "The reality of prefab is that the true benefits of manufacturing—cost, time, consistency, lower waste, higher quality, greater energy efficiency—are optimized with scale," says Shilpa Sankaran, cofounder of Zeta Communities.   In 2008, Patrick Kennedy and Cara Houser of Panoramic Interests conceived the idea of developing a unique housing option for students and twenty and thirty-somethings. They projected increasing demand for smaller spaces that were super-functional, sustainably built, and stylish—and which promoted the concept of the surrounding city as a communal living room and kitchen. After prototyping the project for a Berkeley site, Panoramic decided to build on a small, constrained site in San Francisco, which they saw as a better testing ground for their ideas. They refined their micro-unit concept to fit into San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood fabric with units around 300 square feet each. Here's a peek into the early stages of the project.
October 3, 2012
Yee Residence in Carmel, California

Preview "The Modern Family" Video

If you've enjoyed our previous videos—including behind-the-scenes looks at unconventional residences in New York City and San Francisco and our recent spotlight on the preservation of a railway depot in small-town Iowa—then be sure to check dwell.com on September 12, when we'll unveil our latest video, Part One in our new two-part series "The Modern Family," sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.
September 7, 2012
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Hand-Made Houses

Here at Dwell, we love houses with a good backstory. So it's no surprise that some of our favorite features from years past spotlight homes patiently and passionately built by residents with a tight budget, an obsession with modern design, and a willingness to put in plenty of sweat equity. Here, a look back at some homes renovated or built, to one degree or another, by hand.
August 26, 2012
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Renovating the Swan House: Part 3

In this three-part series, expanding on our July/August 2012 "Designers at Home" theme, Los Angeles–based architect Barbara Bestor tracks her hands-on, ten-month renovation of the Swan House, a 1950s bungalow in Silver Lake. We've featured her work previously in the magazine here. See Part One of the series here, and Part Two here. Part Three: The Finished Product   I bought my house in the Silver Lake hills in December 2010, started renovating it the next month, and we moved in in October 2011. Renovation took ten months. I probably could have done it twice as fast if I had pre-planned it out in advance. Instead I did a "shoot from the hip" renovation. I had a big installation going on in the spring (Silent Disco at Sci-Arc) and was very distracted, so the house was sort of my fun recreational project. Still, it was fun to do it this way—more like a couture process than a typical gig. Lots of trying out new things, and changing direction along the way. Here's a peek at the finished product.  
July 24, 2012
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Renovating the Swan House: Part 2

In this three-part series, expanding on our July/August 2012 "Designers at Home" theme, Los Angeles-based architect Barbara Bestor tracks her hands-on, ten-month renovation of the Swan House, a 1950s bungalow in Silverlake. We've featured her work previously in the magazine here. See Part One of the series here. Part Two: Creating a Home   The house I bought on a corner lot in Silver Lake had been in a family for 40 years, but had not had anyone living in it recently. Time had taken its toll but I could see a house that was perfect for a working mother with two almost-teenage daughters. They would have their own "retreat" downstairs, and upstairs would be our shared living/public spaces and an office/master suite for myself. When I bought the house, I knew I needed to dig out some more space below to make two decent rooms for my daughters. I wanted to completely reconfigure the kitchen and open it up, make a real master bedroom and bath, and change the relationship of the house to the street and to parking. About a month into the design process, I realized I needed to completely change the staircase location and that doing so would help me to improve the kitchen and also the kids' rooms at the lower level. Another month or two in, I realized I could commandeer some of the crawl space and make a proper laundry room and storage area. There was a lot of opportunistic "scope creep" while we went along. Here's a glimpse into my design process and renovation approach.
July 17, 2012
Designer Yasmeen Lari

Q&A with Pakistan's First Female Architect

As profiled in our "Women of Influence" roundup in our July/August 2012 issue, Yasmeen Lari is the closest thing Pakistan has to a design superhero. After years working as an architect, designing buildings for a wide range of clients, from corporate campuses to low-income housing, she left private practice in order to focus on issues close to her heart, including developing sustainable and vernacular disaster relief housing and dedicating herself to writing, research, and her work with the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, the ambitious nonprofit she developed with her husband. Here, we ask her  questions about her architectural work, her philanthropical passions, and the unique challenges of working in her homeland.
July 2, 2012
green design ideas from terreform one's mitchell joachim at dwell on design

Radical Sustainability with Mitchell Joachim

Environmental thought leader, architect, and urban designer Mitchell Joachim joined Dwell editor Amanda Dameron Friday, June 21, at Dwell on Design, sharing his most innovative ideas for the city of the future. In classic Joachim fashion, his fascinating presentation was a volley of high-concept solutions delivered with characteristic charm and humor. Here, we share slideshow highlights—and a few of Joachim's highly-quotable gems.  
June 23, 2012
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Coolest Homes for Artists & Art Collectors

We at Dwell are always on the lookout for unique homes that express the personality of their occupants—and it's no wonder some of the most unique and memorable residences we've featured in recent years belong to artists and art collectors, who embrace the quirky and the unconventional. Join us at Dwell on Design Sunday, June 24th, where we're inviting architect Tom Marble, collector Jeff Wardell, and architect Linda Taalman onstage to chat about ways architecture can best highlight and showcase art. To whet your appetite, flip through our slideshow for a look at some of our favorite homes designed around the display and making-of art, from a famous conceptual artist's industrial-inspired rowhouse in New York City to a street art collector's shipping crate-filled loft in San Francisco.
June 12, 2012
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