Eco-Friendly Prefabs and the Modern Mobile Home: Spotlight on Jennifer Siegal
Just last week, Siegal was recognized with a 2017 AIA Los Angeles Chapter Residential Architecture Award for her home and project, Vertical Venice Prefab (V.V3), which has been featured in the pages of Dwell magazine. She's also the winner of the 2016 arcVision Prize—Women and Architecture, an international award reserved for women architects that's organized by Italcementi. As the first American to win the prize, Siegal was defined by the jury as "a fearless pioneer in the research and development of prefabricated construction systems," according to the USC School of Architecture, where Siegal holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor.
All this is in addition to the work that she does with her company The Office of Mobile Design, which Siegal founded in 1998. The name of the firm is a nod to her obsession with the transitory—as she focuses on "portable, demountable, and relocatable structures."
Her work also explores prefabrication, using industrial processes to create a more efficient and flexible type of architecture. Wheels are an important part of OMD’s design approach, as Siegal examines how mobile structures are infinitely more functional. She explains, "For me, mobility is not about erasing everything that exists, but adding to the infrastructure in a more environmentally sound way—a more intelligent way of inhabiting the landscape—resting lightly on the ground."
She's the editor of both Mobile: the Art of Portable Architecture (2002), More Mobile: Portable Architecture for Today (2008), and was the founder and series editor of Materials Monthly (2005–2006), which was published by Princeton Architectural Press.
A visionary with her eye on the future, Siegal's groundbreaking projects range from a mobile "Eco-Lab" to a green prefab school. After having a look at some of her projects below, you'll see how this award-winning designer truly has her eyes on the future.