Sunday, October 31, 2010

PreFab is Dead - How Architecture Failed PreFab

Today I've asked my correspondent from Sweden, Scott, to layout how the confluence of "Modern Green PreFab" and Architecture has profoundly missed its mark.

You are right Greg, “PreFab” as discussed in America by architects who are passionate about “modern” is dead. The chronic and seemingly unshakable idea in the architecture world is that there is a relationship between how a building looks, and how a building is built. We have to come to terms with this and move on.

I think we need to lead a 12 step program for the “modern green prefab” enthusiast. First though, there has to be an admission that these enthusiasts can not control their compulsions. They must surrender to a higher power (the logic of manufacturing), they must examine the past, make amends, and learn a new code of practice.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letters from Sweden - PreFab is DEAD

Shocking headline intended to get your attention? Guilty. But its true.

Modern PreFab burst on to the scene 10 years or so ago. Before we knew it everybody was a-buzz about PreFab. Magazine articles, newspapers, cable tv shows. Lots of ideas were being tossed out, and some houses were being built. Everybody was hopeful - this is it! We might finally see modern homes priced competitive to standard production homes, all thanks to PreFab. And then just like every PreFab cycle that came before, it was over - again - with little to show for it. Yes, some nice houses were built, and yes, a few are still being built. And capping it off MOMA had a PreFab exhibit, one that should have embarrassed any architect. It was the crown jewel to announce that PreFab had arrived! But was actually more of a postscript on why it had died, again. So here we are on the other side of the cycle and what have we learned? The housing industry is largely unchanged. Design of status quo homes has not improved. Modern is still not readily available. This time around lets just see it for what it is. Call a spade a spade. PreFab is dead.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

0751 RS House - painted!

The NJ RS House has been painted, and it is a rich and creamy milk chocolatey brown! We just want to run up to it and take a big bite out of the corner!

The movers are schedule for next week and we can both happily, and sadly, call this one done. We will have more pictures, however. I think in the spring when the trees leaf out again I'll try to get another round of photos on a day with a nice blue sky.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

XHouse2 - New version breaks cover.

I have been working on renderings of this new XHouse2 version over the past few weeks, and I'm finally ready to show them. I'm not ready to reveal all the details of what this is about yet, but we can look at the images and at some of the differences.

The Construction Prints for the XHouse2 include three different cladding schemes. There is a simple fiber-cement scheme combining lap siding panels and board and batten panels. There is a plastic laminate panel option which features exposed flashing at the joints. And there is the rain-screen cladding option which is the appearance which was featured in the renderings of the house. The first thing you will notice about this new version of the XHouse2 is that it is not sporting any of those cladding schemes.

The cladding on this new XHouse2 scheme is a combination of ship-lapped horizontal panels, and flush vertical siding panels, all in solid wood. You will also notice that the steel framing from the original version is now replaced by timber post and beam framing. Similarly the cable railings are framed in wood rather than angle irons.

Lastly you'll notice that the foundation wall at the basement is now clad in corrugated metal which will be protecting an external insulation layer at the basement level, all designed for greater energy performance. Which will be key to this new version. Stay tuned, we are working to reveal this as fast as we can.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

0751 RS House - no longer a construction site

The project has officially turned the corner, with the sodding of the lawns it no longer appears like a construction site. Many loose ends to tie up and details to finish or correct, but the movers have been scheduled and its nearly time for the house to start its life.

What a difference to see the house with a blue sky! The siding still has not been painted, so there will be at least one more great transformation outside before the big transformation that comes inside when the owners occupy.

Remember the RS House is offered in a two story version as a house plan through our catalog. Note, plans for this house design are offered at a much lower price than the rest of our collection.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

0751 RS House - shower time

All the fittings and fixtures are in the Master Bathroom now, but for the glass panels flanking the shower.


The shower has a ceiling mounted "rainfall" head, and hand spray in an adjustable mount, and a couple of wall mounted body sprays.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

0751 RS House - more interior work

The dark wood flooring we showed in the early renderings is down and looks great.

Also this is shot at night, so the light in the photo is all coming from the house lighting. Given that I don't think the dark flooring make the room dark. In fact I think during the day it will look even brighter.

We actually had the flooring running the other way in the 3d model, but its incorrect. The flooring typically runs across the joists as it was installed. A few more new photos are posted over at the Flickr set.

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