7 Coolest California Prefabs

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By Michele Koh Morollo
With its main components manufactured in a factory and assembled on-site, prefab homes can cost less to build, offer a higher degree of precision, and have a reduced environmental impact, thanks to minimal construction waste.

Here at Dwell, we’re always keeping an eye out for good-looking prefabricated homes. Here are seven in the state of California that we love.

Perforated Steel-and-Glass House in Joshua Tree

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This family home near Joshua Tree National Park was built out of a Bosch aluminum framing system that was assembled with a perforated-steel decking and glass walls to create living wings and a bedroom that are organized around two courtyards.

This family home near Joshua Tree National Park was built out of a Bosch aluminum framing system that was assembled with a perforated-steel decking and glass walls to create living wings and a bedroom that are organized around two courtyards.

Iceland prefab pioneers Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir of Minarc built this Los Angeles family home with mnmMOD, a customizable, locally manufactured building system of prefabricated panels that the duo designed—which minimizes energy consumption and reduces a home’s carbon footprint. Made with a blend of 30-percent recycled steel and cradle-to-cradle-certified extruded polystyrene, mnmMOD components can be assembled with just a screw gun.

Iceland prefab pioneers Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir of Minarc built this Los Angeles family home with mnmMOD, a customizable, locally manufactured building system of prefabricated panels that the duo designed—which minimizes energy consumption and reduces a home’s carbon footprint. Made with a blend of 30-percent recycled steel and cradle-to-cradle-certified extruded polystyrene, mnmMOD components can be assembled with just a screw gun.

A collaboration between Minarc and Habitat for Humanity, this low-cost, net-zero home in South Central L.A. was built with unembellished cement-board cladding and Minarc’s signature mnmMOD panels. 

A collaboration between Minarc and Habitat for Humanity, this low-cost, net-zero home in South Central L.A. was built with unembellished cement-board cladding and Minarc’s signature mnmMOD panels. 

A light-gauge frame made with 70-percent recycled steel helps this prefab rest lightly on its site, resulting in a minimal disruption to the natural desert landscape.

A light-gauge frame made with 70-percent recycled steel helps this prefab rest lightly on its site, resulting in a minimal disruption to the natural desert landscape.

A 1950s Joseph Esherick home in Berkeley, California, was updated by its owners in 2009 to include a new Japanese-inspired pavilion composed of two prefabricated, off-center volumes beneath a butterfly roof that's half-clad with solar panels.

A 1950s Joseph Esherick home in Berkeley, California, was updated by its owners in 2009 to include a new Japanese-inspired pavilion composed of two prefabricated, off-center volumes beneath a butterfly roof that's half-clad with solar panels.

By combining a prefabricated, recycled-steel superstructure with concrete walls and insulated metal panels, architects Pamela and Hector Magnus built this charcoal-hued house with expansive second-floor windows.

By combining a prefabricated, recycled-steel superstructure with concrete walls and insulated metal panels, architects Pamela and Hector Magnus built this charcoal-hued house with expansive second-floor windows.

Built using a hybrid system, this modernist Palm Springs home has a core of concrete walls and floors that were built in just two months. Prefabricated, lightweight-steel beams and exterior walls were trucked to the site afterwards. 

Built using a hybrid system, this modernist Palm Springs home has a core of concrete walls and floors that were built in just two months. Prefabricated, lightweight-steel beams and exterior walls were trucked to the site afterwards.