Daniel Libeskind Does Sustainable, Affordable Prefab...Not!

Daniel Libeskind does modern prefab with the first of the Studio Series, a 515 square metre (5,500 square foot) number that Libeskind claims is built to "the highest level of sustainability in the world." It has solar power, "the maximum amount of insulation, and of course, is beautifully built to last hundreds of years- "that's sustainability!"

Libeskind tells Kevin Brass in the IHT:

"this is really the first time I have taken on the issue of doing something which is a limited artistic edition of a new space, a new way of living....I did everything in reverse in my career. Most people start with small projects and go on to design a museum. I started with a museum."


Studio Libeskind describes the project:

Like a crystal growing from rock, a dramatic structure emerges from the ground. The Villa, Daniel Libeskind’s first signature series home, creates a new dialogue between contemporary living and a completely new experience of space. Built from premium materials, this German-made, sculptural living space meets the highest standards in design, craftsmanship and sustainability. It is unique at every turn, offering maximum insulation and durability, cutting-edge technologies and compliance with some of the toughest energy-saving standards across the world.


Design and Materials

Sustainable materials are at the heart of Libeskind’s design. While not apparent from the exterior, the Villa is largely constructed of wood, a renewable resource that is making a strong comeback as a key building material for the 21st Century, due to its impressive carbon-storing capabilities.

The wooden core offers maximum thermal insulation, and thus efficient operation. With more than 360 mm of recyclable wooden fibers and a heat transition coefficient of 0.11 W/m²K, the insulation of the Villa’s exterior walls matches that of passive houses.



Onsite Renewables

The Villa employs onsite renewable energy sources for heating, electricity and water. Its standard configuration includes a solar thermal system which is invisibly integrated into the zinc façade, as well as a geothermal system with a high-efficiency heat pump.

In addition, electric power may be generated from photovoltaic thin film, while rain water can be harvested from the rooftop for use in the garden’s irrigation system.


Although this construction photo looks a lot like conventional construction (if a Libeskind building can look conventional), Michael Sylvester points out that prefab doesn't have to mean repetitive. "prefab doesn't have to be mass produced to be prefab."

The general manager of the builder Proportion, Michael Merz, tells the IHT that unlike conventional prefabs, the villa includes several custom features and will take several months to assemble on site. He will also offer regional exclusivity, so to prevent the inevitable rush to create neighbourhoods of Libeskind prefabs.

Michael Sylvester concludes with a one-line summary of the goal of modern prefab, not yet attained:

"There is pent-up demand of people who want the high design of a capital-A architect, but they want it at an affordable price point."

More at Studio Libeskind and Signature Series

This is Part 3 of the Death of Modern Prefab. Read the rest:
Part 1: Modern Prefab Lives Fast, Dies Young, Leaves a Good Looking Corpse
Part 2: Michelle Kaufmann packs it in

Tags: Architects | Germany