Modscape Makes Prefab Homes That Don’t Look Like They Came From a Factory

The Australian company creates modular designs with a level of customization that makes them read like stick-built residences—in a good way.

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Welcome to Prefab Profiles, an ongoing series of interviews with people transforming how we build houses. From prefab tiny houses and modular cabin kits to entire homes ready to ship, their projects represent some of the best ideas in the industry. Do you know a prefab brand that should be on our radar? Get in touch!

Modscape began in 2006 to fill what its founders saw as a gap in the Australian market for high-quality prefab homes. Since then, the company has carved out a space for itself with an off-site construction process it has used to design and construct more than 500 projects that span a range of sectors: residential, commercial, education, and hospitality, to name a few. The company’s in-house team handles nearly every aspect of the process, including design, permitting, manufacturing, and site work.

With homes that have a cantilevered top floor, a translucent facade, or a striking spiral steel staircase, Modscape’s residential portfolio debunks the misguided notion that prefab and custom designs are mutually exclusive. Here, the company’s CEO, Jan Gyrn, explains how Modscape is leveraging off-site construction to build better residences throughout Australia as well as commercial modular projects abroad.

Modscape led the end-to-end process for this family residence in the coastal town of Barwon Heads in Victoria, Australia. 

Photo by Tom Ross

What are you currently working on?

We are currently putting the finishing touches on a roughly 215,000 square feet advanced robotic off-site construction facility in Essendon Fields. This is a major milestone for our company, as it allow us to scale up and further expand our operations. The new facility will be one of the largest off-site manufacturing facilities for modular construction in Australia, with close to approximately 430,000 square feet of total space—roughly the size of the MCG.

It will also be home to our new division, Modbotics, a fully automated robotic production line for building elements. The robots will manufacture open and closed walls, passive house walls, floors, and roof cassettes.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve realized to date?

One of our favorites, Tintaldra, is from our early Modscape days. The Tintaldra home is situated on a vast property on the southern banks of the Murray River and serves as a minimalist retreat, offering a secluded yet intimate existence. We wanted the cabin to look like a shed when viewed from the road. The end result is the client’s favorite feature of the project—it recedes into the landscape, appearing as a small silhouette against snowy mountains on the horizon.

Orientation was crucial as the home needed to take advantage of the sun and breeze to passively heat and cool the home. A bank of solar panels generates the home’s energy, creating more than enough for the efficient home to run comfortably. Water is drawn from the Murray River via a solar pump to supply the home’s water, while a septic tank deals with waste water on-site.

The home is compromised of four modules and a kit-of-parts garage, all of which were manufactured in Modscape’s factory over the course of 12 weeks before being delivered to the site.

Photo by Tom Ross

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What does your base model cost, and what does that pricing include?

Each Modscape project is bespoke, designed for its specific site and our client’s spatial requirements. Costs are reliant on a number of variables such as design, finishes, and site access. The overall cost for a Modscape home typically begins at around AUD $750,000, plus goods and service tax for a one to two bedroom home. For new builds or knockdown rebuilds, our base modular price is AUD $4,000 to $5,500 per square meter. Upgrades, logistics, site works, and permits are additional as they vary from project to project.

The multigenerational residence spans 3,164 square feet with five bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, and a deck. An elevator was included to future-proof the home.

Photo by Tom Ross

What qualities make your prefab stand apart from the rest?

Each of our modular buildings uses the building methodology of ‘Design for Manufacture and Assembly’ (DfMA) to ensure the most efficient process possible. DfMA focuses on the ‘kit of parts’ that make up the whole project—minimizing and streamlining these parts to enhance the speed, quality, and sustainability of the final product. We optimize the systems and details across the installation stages to make this process simpler and more efficient.

Where are the prefabs currently available?

We work all over Australia and do commercial modular projects overseas. Access is the only factor that can prevent modular from being the right outcome for a remote site. If trucks can gain access, then it’s likely Modscape will be able to create a fantastic solution for a remote site.

The kitchen is designed to feel "elegant and practical" with details like terrazzo-style stone counters and integrated storage.

Photo by Tom Ross

Is your design currently pre-permitted in any U.S. municipalities?

We can design to meet the specific building codes and zoning requirements of any location, including various U.S. municipalities. Our team is skilled in efficiently navigating local approval processes to comply with all necessary regulations.

Are there plans to expand to different parts of the country/world?

In terms of global expansion, we are already exporting outside of Australia for certain commercial projects, and continue to be enthusiastic about bringing our innovative design solutions to new markets.

Sunlight filters through silver ash screens in the study, as well as the bedrooms.

Photo by Tom Ross

How long can a client expect the process to take after they put down a deposit?

A project kicks off with a site inspection where we share our observations and outline the project vision. After five weeks, we’ll present the client with a detailed design proposal and estimated costs. Our in-house architects then work closely with the client to refine the proposal, engaging external consultants (like structural engineers and geotechnicians) to inform the design and budget.

If required for the project, we will obtain all permits, surveys, and reports. We’ll also engage external consultants as needed. Approval times may vary based on project complexity and council workload. From the date of issue of the building permit, the project will be scheduled into our factory program and then will be built and installed in approximately 12 weeks.

Installation of the modules usually takes one to two days, and a further two to four weeks is generally required for site works.

Modscape is an end-to-end company, however, they will bring in outside consultants when necessary. The landscape and pool for this home were executed with the help of Bethany Williamson, Wickstead Works, and Gordon Ave Pools & Spas.

Photo by Tom Ross

What aspects of an install do you manage?

We manage all aspects of an install—from permits to site preparation, right through to arranging services to be connected. One project, one team.

Timber battens wrap the exterior of the home.

Photo by Tom Ross

What aspects of the design can a client customize?

All of our homes are custom designed, so a client can customize every aspect of their project. External cladding, roof shape, internal wall finishes, floor coverings, paint colors, bench tops, fixtures, and appliances can all be chosen to meet individual requirements, and clients are welcome to supply their own items for inclusion.

More Modscape:

An Affordable Prefab Home Frames the Rugged Landscape in Rural Australia

A Balcony With a Bathtub Caps This Striking Prefab in Melbourne



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