Paul Raff House, Toronto
TreeHugger hasn't covered a lot of single family houses this year, even if they are green to the gills; they are rarely in urban settings, often expensive and not good poster children for how we are going to have to design our communities in the future. But looking at Jetson Green's collection of 62 that he showed this year, I realize that I may have been too doctrinaire; there is a lot of good work being done in all sizes, quite a few in urban milieus, and there is lots to learn from some of the second homes in the country. Here are some of the ones I covered, often picking them up from Jetson Green:
These are tough times for modern prefab, but for every company going out of business, there are others willing to try. Vancouver architect Tony Robins offers his Preform line, built in Surrey, British Columbia, "close to the river for barging and to the highway for road shipping." He has built a single module 500 square foot prototype, but offers larger or custom designs as well from his 20,000 square foot factory.
Thai designer Chutayaves Sinthuphan of Site-Specific first made a splash in these pages with a demonstration project at a home show; now they show us a neat little one-bedroom house built from two 20 foot containers designed for hot, humid climates.
Preston at Jetson Green shows us the coolest little project that I have seen in a long time. It's affordable housing for working people in the San Juan Islands, some of the most expensive real estate in the country, built by the Lopez Community Land Trust and designed by Mithun.
When Warren Buffet bought Clayton Homes in 2003 I was still working in the prefab biz; Punching well above my weight, I sent him an email about the business case for a mobile home manufacturer doing well designed green housing. I don't know if he got it; I never got an answer. While I was munching on my response to Preston's post on Clayton's new i-house, Brian posted about it on TreeHugger here; I will try and add some impressions about its implications.
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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!"
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Preston shows pictures of the completed house here, cheap at two to three million euros.