October 26th, 2009
One of our favorite prefab home designers, Blu Homes, just completed a home in Colorado at the beginning of the October. The Fischer Chalet, a modern green prefab home in Breckenridge, Colorado, is a perfect example of what Blu Homes is capable of. While designed as a custom home built with the Colorado climate in mind, the plans for this home will be standard Blu design by mid 2010. The Blu Chalet combines a simple and practical floor plan, with sustainable materials, lots of natural lighting and energy efficient design.
Popularity: 37% [?]
September 29th, 2009
Blu Homes, a LIL favorite in the green prefab sector, announced today that they have purchased the assets of mkDesigns, the pioneering prefab company founded by architect Michelle Kaufmann that has been one of the most visible leaders in modular sustainable design. The plan is to bring some of mkDesigns’ leading models (Glidehouse TM, mkLotus TM, Sunset Breezehouse) to customers around the country via Blu’s proprietary manufacturing and building system innovations.
This could be an intriguing combination, for mkDesigns and Blu were targeting different segments of the market and didn’t overlap much. The combined entity should be able to target a much broader swath of the market, achieving economies of scale in manufacturing, design and sales. mkDesigns offered high-end homes that were often the stars of trade shows and green architecture exhibits around the country, while Blu homes combine eco-friendly features with more reasonable prices.
We won’t know for some time whether this will all work as planned. The assets of mkDesigns were bought out of bankruptcy, so there were clearly some issues with their original approach that must be worked out. And although Blu is building its first homes in locations across the country, we haven’t heard much from them yet about finished projects and future plans. And, all good intentions could be for naught if the economy doesn’t turn around soon. Let’s hope, though, that this combination is the first sign of a maturing and consolidating prefab market, and that Blu can deliver on the original promise of prefab - high quality, eco-friendly homes at mainstream prices.
Here are some pictures of the mkDesigns’ designs acquired by Blu:
Popularity: 34% [?]
July 7th, 2009
Shipping containers are at the forefront of a new era of usefulness. Traditionally used to carry goods via cargo ship, train or truck, these steel boxes are capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure and weight. This makes them structurally stable, fireproof, mold-proof and weather-proof. Unfortunately each has a lifespan of only 20 years for its original purpose. That means when their work is done hauling stuff, they get retired and sent to junk yards or landfills even though they are still structurally solid. Now architects and designers recognize their usefulness as building blocks for homes, offices, apartments, schools and more. This home in Quebec was built by a couple intent on reducing the amount of wood that goes into building homes and also saving money. (more…)
Popularity: 100% [?]
July 1st, 2009
Dwell Magazine has partnered with some very well-known architects and builders to develop a signature line of prefab homes. The homes not only focus on sustainable design and building, but look amazing as well. Turkel Design in collaboration with Lindal Cedar Homes and then Marmol Radziner Prefab each designed three modern prefab homes to be featured as part of the Dwell Home Collection. Dwell’s recent selection of these particular prefab home designs indicates the quality of design, modern amenities and most importantly the integration of sustainable features to create a efficient and eco-friendly home. (more…)
Popularity: 34% [?]
June 22nd, 2009
As a native of Kansas City you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about the new green prefab achievement in my home town. I learned about it from one of my favorite publications, Natural Home. They did a wonderful feature on the house, which you can read in its entirety here.
The 1,200 square feet house is a two-bedroom, one-bath home (remember in the eco-sphere small is good!) and is perched on stilts atop a hill. It has a wonderful view of downtown. It was designed by architecture students from the University of Kansas (KU), who are part of a program that focuses on sustainable and affordable design. It’s an excellent example of affordable, green design.
The home was built in six modular units in nearby Lawrence, Kansas. Then they trucked 40 miles to Kansas City and assembled. The house was designed and built over five months by the KU students. The owners paid around $150,000 for the house.
Natural Home also produced a nice video on the house – check it out.
Popularity: 9% [?]