The innovative state has no shortage of architectural experiments; these 7 prefab homes are pushing the design envelope.
Inspired by the modern homes built by developer Joseph Eichler in the 1950s and 1960s, the C6 home by LivingHomes offers potential homeowners a competitively-priced modern home built according to LEED Platinum standards. “This is actually the most energy efficient home we’ve ever done. It blew us away,” says Steve Glenn, CEO of LivingHomes, “We’re 51 percent more efficient than Title 24 building energy codes.”
When Abbie and Bill Burton hired Marmol Radziner to design their prefab weekend home, their two requests were “simple-simple, replaceable materials,” says Abbie—such as concrete floors (poured offsite in Marmol Radziner's factory) and metal panel siding—and “the ability to be indoors or outdoors with ease.” Deep overhangs provide shade and protection from rain, so the Burtons can leave their doors open year-round and hang out on their 70-foot-long deck even in inclement weather.
The basic thinking, architect Linda Taalman says of her prefab home in Pioneertown, California, was to “take advantage of industries outside of the traditional domestic building environment. 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.”
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. The clever steel frame allows the house to float above the wilderness—a concession to the lightness on the land that its owner, architects, and engineers so clearly wanted.
Nestled in an apple grove in Sebastopol, California, the Orchard House is a rural idyll. And with the voracious design appetites of a family of gastronomically inclined clients, this concrete prefab construction is quite literally a moveable feast of a home.
Impressed by the Rudolf M. Schindler house in West Hollywood and Craig Ellwood’s Case Study house, water feature choreographer and technology developer Scott Palamar wanted to build a minimalist prototype of his own. And despite his lack of architectural training, he jumped at the opportunity to experiment with a modular structure when he purchased a $5,000 parcel of land in the Eastern Sierra in 2004.