Hometta Delivers Good Designs For Smaller Homes Off the Rack


Food and Water House by Studio Terpeluk

One of the reasons TreeHugger has loved prefab so much is that by doing things more than once, an architect gets to work out the bugs and get it right. They don't all have to be identical, but they do have to get better each time. That is also a virtue of the stock home plan business; if you sell a plan for a house already built, you can fix your mistakes. Prefab and home plans also let architects make a living with smaller houses, earning enough by doing a number of iterations to justify the amount of work it takes to do a decent job. For the client, it gives them access to the kind of talent they could not otherwise afford.

I have previously covered a few startups offering modern plans, some even giving them away, but missed Hometta,a stock plan business founded in Houston by builder Mark Johnson and architect Andrew McFarland, and written about in the Boston Globe.

Some of them are still concepts, like the Food and Water House by Studio Terpeluk.

The Food and Water house proposes to strengthen the symbiosis between property ownership and environmental resources such as earth, water, wind, and sunlight. The house is divided into three distinct one-story pavilions linked by covered walkways and variable shed roofs. The configuration maximizes sunlight exposure, cross-ventilation, and rainwater harvesting while geothermal coils drive the radiant cooling and heating. Roof overhangs reduce summer solar gain while clerestory windows create large luminous spaces.


Interloop Architecture

Others have already been built, like the seriously stunning and simple 48' house by Interloop Architecture.

Others are more conceptual, like the Stacked House by Kiel Moe, a young professor at Northeastern University School of Architecture, who has not built much but has a killer CV.

The Stacked House is a 1,200-square-foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. The living level is raised above the ground on a series of shipping containers. The containers form both structure for the house, covered parking as well as additional storage.A considerable amount of 'free' square footage. Shipping containers can be acquired for very little cost. As such, the house includes a considerable amount of 'free' square footage for storage, workshops, potting sheds, etc. The bedrooms are disposed on opposite ends of the house with public areas in between.


The house uses a hydronic, radiant heating and cooling system in the concrete floor. It is also designed for ample daylight and cross ventilation to maximize energy performance. All together, the material and energy systems are designed to be low up-front costs and low-operating costs.

And this guy knows his mechanical systems.

It is such an eclectic collection that the Pink Comma Gallery in Boston is presenting a travelling show of the work. Stock plans don't usually merit that kind of attention. Stock plans never got much attention from architects, either, who used to look down their nose at the idea; not any more. As Lee Moreau, a Boston architect with a house on the site says in the Boston Globe:

"The architectural community really has little impact on what gets built on the domestic landscape,'' Moreau says. "As architects, we spend time considering how we can reach the broadest market, that basic subject of architecture. Hometta provides a way to do that.''

And they are not alone. TreeHugger has previously shown some others in the business:
Click Your Way to Greg Lavardera's Modern Stock Plans
How Much Should Design Cost?
Good Architects Selling Good Plans is a Good Thing

Tags: Architects | Designers