Treehugger readers may recall the Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake, to which we have devoted much space, including What Makes a Building Green?, Loblolly House: Pictures at Last and more. I consider it to be one of the most innovative and important houses of this century. Readers may also recall LivingHomes, with the first LEED Platinum prefab from developer Steve Glenn.
As a cured architect and developer, I could only dream of what the result might be if one mixed the talents and innovations of architects like Kieran Timberlake with a business visionary like Steve Glenn and set them to produce small, efficient projects that don't need a Silicon Valley multimillionaire's income to own.
I need dream no more: That is exactly what they are doing.
We have given a bit of coverage to Steve Glenn's Living Homes and and their LEED Platinum Ray Kappe wonder, and wrote about it in Living Homes- Modernist Sustainable Prefab and LivingHomes Awarded LEED for Homes Platinum (Jeremy toured it here and interviewed Steve here)
I was less enthralled with the over-the-top Wired Home because of its size, but it also had much to admire. However one had to wonder when such technologies would percolate down to the mainstream. It seems that they are right now.
Steve Glenn says ""Our collective prefabrication experience allowed us to design a completely new kind of building system, one that will allow us to make our homes faster, with less cost and a smaller ecological footprint. In addition to lower cost single family LivingHomes designed by KieranTimberlake, we're introducing our first multi-family homes, which allows us to better serve the urban infill market. With these homes, we begin to fulfill our mission to make our homes affordable and accessible to people around the country and world."
Over the past few years we have seen quite a few "revolutionary" building systems that never got off the ground; the building industry is conservative and the building codes and inspectors even more so. The LivingHomes Building System looks like one of those systems that might crawl through the approval process- it is a "a proprietary platform that combines modules for kitchens, baths and utility cores, and"Smart Panelsâ„¢", that integrate mechanical ducting, electrical and plumbing. With complexity and cost concentrated in particular panels and modules, this flexible building system allows for high-volume fabrication, assemble and easier transportation.
"We see the LBS as an important tool and a great opportunity to make quality, environmentally responsible design available to more people," explains Steve Kieran, Partner at KieranTimberlake.
Each home is virtually constructed using high-tech parametric modeling software before anything is actually physically built either at the site or at the factory. The virtual assembly process even further reduces construction waste and allows the design team to map out the construction process in precise detail.
"James Timberlake and I have long argued that there is a pandemic lack of productivity and quality control in the design and construction industry today," said Kieran. "With this belief structure, we see working with LivingHomes as an exceptional and welcome opportunity to bring a new level of quality, productivity, affordability, and sustainability to housing development."
From anyone else I would be really concerned that it would languish in the approval stages, I think this team has the experience and resources to pull it off.
The KT1 starts at 1185 square feet and is designed to be expandable; I suppose one will just be able to go off to the LivingHome Depot and order up additional floor and wall panels as your needs change. It is what is sometimes known as a "French Farmhouse" plan with the living space above the bedrooms, which was terrific when Ted Cullinan did it , but I am not certain about doing it over a parking space- one has to schlep their groceries up three flights of stairs. On the other hand I am sure one can flip them around at will.
"The "expandable" LivingHomes by KieranTimberlake, based on the proprietary LivingHomes Building System (LBS), are designed to grow with the owners needs, expanding from 900 sf to 2000 sf. Rooms can be added as you need them, configured from one to four bedrooms. Standard sustainable features include FSC-certified wood, low-VOC paints, formaldehyde-free millwork. Additional options include LED downlights, photovoltaics, green roofs, grey water ecycling, and other environmental systems."
Priced from $ 215 PSF excluding land, foundations, and transportation.