These first forays into prefab structures helped catapult some of the leading firms specializing in the construction methodology.
“It’s a beautiful part of the world,” says architect Alan Dickson about Scotland's Isle of Skye. “The downside of that beauty is that land is expensive and very difficult for young people to afford, so they’re leaving the island.” In 2010, Dickson, of the Skye-based firm Rural Design, and local builder James MacQueen came up with a solution: a small timber-frame prefab design called the R.House, which can be constructed quickly and tucked onto less expensive lots that don’t appeal to well-heeled holiday homeowners.
Photo by Marcus McAdam.
The question "what would Eichler do?" clinched the deal that created Simpatico Homes, a modular-home company inspired by the work of the postwar developer Joseph Eichler. The company’s prototype home in Emeryville, in which co-founder Seth Krubiner has lived since late 2011, was created in a San Jose factory for around $270 per square foot. Photo by Jake Stangel.
The Perryville, Missouri, show house for Rocio Romero’s LV prefab series is also home to the designer and her husband, Cale Bradford. The house subtly reflects the area’s utilitarian rural vernacular. The prototype, originally built as a weekend retreat, became the couple’s primary residence not long after its completion. “We decided we liked being in this house a lot more than we did our place in St. Louis,” Romero says. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
The Blue Sky prototype home tiptoes gracefully across the desert landscape just north of Joshua Tree National Park. Unlike a wood-frame house, where load-bearing walls need to go in certain places to support the structure, a Blue Sky steel frame house doesn’t require interior walls. The architects at o2 capitalized on the flexibility the steel afforded them by emphasizing open space and a connection with the surrounding nature. Photo by Misha Gravenor.
The basic thinking of Taalman-Koch's iT House was to “take advantage of industries outside of the traditional domestic building environment," Taalman says. "The iT House is a collection of off-the-shelf manufacturing systems that we’ve combined—like the Bosch framing usually used in robotics and the Epic roof construction system used in airports and malls.” This first iT House has informed more of the firm's designs, like a residence built in Clear Lake, California.