Prefab houses are getting leaner, more efficient, and, in some cases, bigger. Here, we explore highlights from our December/January prefab issue, juxtaposed with our favorites from the past.
An easy-to-build modular system is the perfect solution for a family in Bend, Oregon. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s design for the Verheyden clan is instantly legible from the back deck, where the repetition of trusses, windows, and lumber creates a strong linear profile.
Architect William Massie built a hybrid prefab home in upstate New York for vintage retailer Greg Wooten, who handled the interiors. In the living room is a 1950s Franco Albini rattan chair, a Crate chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1934, and a 1970s sofa by Edward Axel Roffman. The tall ceramic piece is by Bruno Gambone. Photo by Karina Tengberg.
Jim Murren’s prefab house in Sin City, designed by Marmol Radziner, is as artful as it is art-filled, thanks to an asymmetrical arrangement of solids and voids. Sage Design Studios transformed the developer-flattened landscape into a picturesque desert setting with naturalistic undulations, meandering trails,and drought-tolerant shrubs. Photo by Jill Paider.
A 1950s Joseph Esherick home in Berkeley, California, inspires an addition that pays homage to the past yet is poised to host the next generation. The butterfly-roof pavilion by architects Kate Simonen, Benjamin Parco, and Phil Kaefer connects to the low-slung home Joseph Esherick designed in 1954 via two covered walkways and an open-air tearoom. All three structures sit lightly on the landscape designed by Lawrence Halprin and updated over 50 years later by Gary Roth, a former employee. Photo by Caren Alpert.
A family’s remote island retreat becomes a more permanent home base, thanks to the efficiency of building modular. Resolution: 4 Architecture designed a Fishers Island home with warm cedar siding and white windows as a nod to the regional New England vernacular. Photo by Matthew Williams.
A long house on Long Island, this prefab could get to its site peaceably only by traveling in pieces. Designed by Resolution: 4 Architecture as a holiday retreat for a family of six, this slatty slab is up to the task of sheltering its owners and all their guests. Tanya Wexler and Amy Zimmerman linger in the breezeway designed to draw eyes, and footsteps, from the driveway through the house to the gently sloping backyard and swimming pool beyond. Photo by João Canziani.
On a double suburban lot in Tokyo, the Office of Ryue Nishizawa built a neighborhood-scaled, flexible-format minimalist steel prefab compound for Yasuo Moriyama—a very private individual with a powerful social bent—and six rental tenants. Every room is its own building—even Moriyama's bath is a freestanding box. Here, tradition and innovation interweave to create a new kind of community. The compound at dusk. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
The Blue Sky prototype home tiptoes gracefully across the desert landscape just north of Joshua Tree National Park. Nestled amid piñon and juniper trees and outcroppings of boulders, the house’s six steel columns permit a seasonal stream to run underneath it. Photo by Misha Gravenor.