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Prefab, or pre-fabricated, homes are the current rage with everyone from modernists to environmentalists. The basic idea behind prefab houses are that they are built in a factory or manufacturing site and then assembled wherever the structure is to be located. Although embraced by modernists, prefab is nothing new and has existed as a construction method since ancient times.
Architects of both the 20th and 21st centuries have taken to prefab because it allows for well-designed homes to be made in mass production. With clean lines and open floor space, prefab houses are the love of many design enthusiasts; reduced production costs also keep them relatively inexpensive compared to traditional designer houses. Architects and designers have also been quick to follow the current green trend by making their prefab houses not only aesthetically pleasing but also energy-efficient and made from recycled or sustainable materials.
Here are some of my favorite, and unique, designs:
Designed by Werner Aisslinger, the Loftcube Project, which makes prefab houses specifically designed for rooftops and transportable by helicopter, turns high-end real estate into something affordable, as long as you can find a rooftop for rent.
Simple and sleek, H Haus is probably best known for his Cube series.
Built with aluminum framing, and fully constructed within only a couple of days, Kithaus provides sleek design in what seems like a matter of minutes. Basically these are Legos for grownups as different constructions can be made from various combinations of the company’s module designs.
With self-construction as the basic idea behind all of their products, it is no surprise that Swedish furniture store IKEA started making houses. Although customers don’t actually put together the BoKlok houses themselves, the residences are assembled on site and a block of two-story apartment buildings can be set up in one day. The timber houses are meant to be simple and affordable; no wonder the Swedish translation of Bo Klok is “live smart.”
Trinity Buoy Wharf in the London Docklands is more than a house, it’s a whole city made from old shipping containers. Architects Nicholas Lacey and Burro Happold took the traditional shipping container design and multitplied it into many, creating a system that has been used not only as a residential area but also for classrooms, office spaces and youth centers.
Michelle Kauffman’s latest design, the mkLotus, is the epitome of environmentally friendly. It can come in several different floor plans, allowing you to choose the home that best fits your needs and aesthetic tastes.