Back in about 2004, in the early days of the modern prefab craze, I first learned of Peter Strzebniok and his Nottoscale prefabs. At the time his designs were based on " a steel framework which allows individual building elements to be interchanged." It seemed complicated, and I don't think any of them got built.
But now Peter is back with his T-Modulome, and it has been built, with a much simpler structure, and a bigger plan, providing a good demonstration of how the industry has evolved since those wilder times when there was so much experimentation going on.
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The unit has grown to the almost standard three bedrooms/ two baths at a very efficient 1200 square feet. It is another lesson it took many years to learn; people always said they wanted the little cabin but in the end, three bedrooms, two baths and lower costs per square foot ruled.
The T-shaped plan is pretty tried and true in modern modular construction; it is efficient because it minimizes the amount of site stitching that has to be done and allows for a lot of natural cross-ventilation, although it creates a lot of expensive exterior surface.
The building chassis is now made of structural insulated panels, and one has more choices in construction; where once the architects were interested in mass production, now Peter says:
We don't have one single construction/ manufacturing approach but that we decide what manufacturing approach to used based on the specific circumstances of each project, thereby ensuring that the final product is best suited to the specific site as well as to the client's specific needs.
Many architects would rather design one unique home than be creative for the general public. The architects from Nottoscale set upon these points with their concept of the Modulome, for which they used marketing and production ideas from the automobile industry. Modulome is modular construction system with prefabricated, mass produced building elements.
It ended up in quite a different place. The dream of mass produced and affordable modern green prefab has not quite worked out like we thought it would, but there is serious progress in prefab:
Blu Homes' New Prefab Release is a Blast from the Past : TreeHugger
Innovators like Blu Homes are attacking the manufacturing and shipping problems.
LivingHomes and Nexterra Green Homes Team Up To Do Modern Green Prefab Right
Living Homes continues to raise the bar for quality of design, and has expanded internationally;
MEKA Prefab Takes Manhattan, Raises Questions About The Future Of Housing
MEKA is breaking the cost barrier, albeit by offshoring their construction to China.
Perhaps Joe Tanney of Resolution 4 was right when he responded to my post last year, The Glidehouse Is At The End Of The Road For Green Modern Prefab. He insists that This Just Might Be The Beginning!