Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction

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The Monogram Modern Home, a prefab designed by Method Homes featuring a luxury kitchen outfitted with Monogram appliances, has been touring the country, making appearances in Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas, and soon Boston, on September 11-12. Before the tour concludes, we want to take this opportunity to muse on the importance of modern prefab construction, a topic we cover extensively at Dwell.

Prefab construction made it possible for the Monogram Modern Home to travel the country. Prefab housing is a notoriously flexible solution that treads lightly on the land. At 825 square feet, the Monogram Modern Home is easy to transport by truck. If a homeowner chose to use multiple units to form a larger house, they could break it apart and move them separately. Photo  of Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction modern home

Prefab construction made it possible for the Monogram Modern Home to travel the country. Prefab housing is a notoriously flexible solution that treads lightly on the land. At 825 square feet, the Monogram Modern Home is easy to transport by truck. If a homeowner chose to use multiple units to form a larger house, they could break it apart and move them separately.

Cubicco’s prefab houses, like the Cabana Beach model, are built with laminated veneer lumber, an engineered material that uses up to 90 percent of a tree—compared to typical wood timbers that use only 60 to 70 percent. Modules can be disassembled if the owners relocate. Photo  of Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction modern home

Because prefabricated construction enables careful moderation and experimentation in the building process, it allows for structural innovations that traditional site builds typically don't see. One example of this is Cubicco, a company that is developing disaster-proof prefabs. Cubicco’s prefabs can withstand Category 5 hurricanes, extreme heat and cold, ten-foot snow loads, and earthquakes (when paired with a strong foundation).

Cubicco’s prefab houses, like the Cabana Beach model, are built with laminated veneer lumber, an engineered material that uses up to 90 percent of a tree—compared to typical wood timbers that use only 60 to 70 percent. Modules can be disassembled if the owners relocate.

The design consists of three layers: an energy-efficient, insulating structural envelope, an integrated building systems core with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and an exterior shell equipped with solar systems and the ability to shade and collect rainwater. Photo  of Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction modern home

It also can be an extremely efficient method. We love this prototype designed by students from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and their peers from the Université d’Angers in France for the 2014 iteration of the Solar Decathlon Europe in Versailles, France. The super green design consists of three layers: an energy-efficient, insulating structural envelope, an integrated building systems core with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and an exterior shell equipped with solar systems and the ability to shade and collect rainwater.

The design consists of three layers: an energy-efficient, insulating structural envelope, an integrated building systems core with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and an exterior shell equipped with solar systems and the ability to shade and collect rainwater.

A new residential building in upper Manhattan, dubbed The Stack and designed by the architecture firm Gluck+, employed offsite prefabrication methods to create a high-quality, affordable housing solution that was raised onsite in only 19 days. Photo  of Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction modern home

Since it relies on regular, repeated modules that are quickly produced, prefab is a viable option for affordable housing. A new residential building in upper Manhattan, dubbed The Stack and designed by the architecture firm Gluck+, employed offsite prefabrication methods to create a high-quality, affordable housing solution that was raised onsite in only 19 days.

A new residential building in upper Manhattan, dubbed The Stack and designed by the architecture firm Gluck+, employed offsite prefabrication methods to create a high-quality, affordable housing solution that was raised onsite in only 19 days.

The modules are then trucked to their respective construction sites. Photo  of Things You Should Know About Modern Prefab Construction modern home

The industry still has room to expand in terms of production. As we've noted in our pages, industry leaders feel momentum behind factory-built housing, but it will only pick up speed once the industry scales up and bends the cost curve. “The demand definitely exceeds the supply,” says Robby Kullman of Capsys, which assembles modular structures inside a 75,000-square-foot factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The modules are then trucked to their respective construction sites.

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