Book Review: Prefab Prototypes

We have an entire shelf of books on modern prefab; it starts with Allison Arieff and Brian Burhkart's Prefab, the book that broke the story back in 2002; it continues with Colin Davies' The Prefabricated Home, the important academic review of the history of prefab. Now a place of honour on the coffee table must be given to Mark and Peter Anderson's Prefab Prototypes. They have worked in many different media, some of which are a stretch to call prefab but including panelized 2x4, CNC heavy timber, concrete panels, steel framing, sandwich panels and modular. The work is varied, the drawings are stunning and the photography is beautiful.

Prefab means quality: "Central to the potential of prefabrication is the concept of iterative design and prototyping processes. A significant problem with one-off custom buildings is the inability to prototype and refine details prior to final construction. With manufactured products there is the opportunity to invest in research and testing prior to production, amortizing these development costs over a significant production run"- you get it right before you build it.

We agree completely with the dust jacket, which says that "as architects, Mark and Peter Anderson have demonstrated that a perceptive and creative approach to prefabrication makes possible affordable, well designed buildings in harmony with their natural and public environments."

Coffee table collections are nice, but if you want to go deep, go for Prefab Prototypes: Site-Specific Design for Offsite Construction from ::Princeton Architectural Press

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