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A BRIEF HISTORY of PREFABRICATED HOUSING
Prefabricated houses have done a lot to earn their reputation for being cheap and ugly, and indeed, the prevailing vision of prefab-endless rows of cookie-cutter structures built with cheap materials and substandard construction methods-is, unfortunately, fairly accurate. But now and throughout prefab's history, there have been many exceptions to the rule. Groundbreaking proposals from architects and designers such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Jean Prouvé, Albert Frey, Buckminster Fuller, Sir Richard Rogers, Archigram, Kisho Kurokawa, and even Philippe Starck, have emerged since Sear's first marketed their Houses by Mail to the general public in 1908. Prefab examines the fascinating history of prefabricated housing over the last century to reveal a wealth of practical and attractive alternatives to the status quo.
Prefab's primary focus is the work of over 25 contemporary architects and designers who are exploring the myriad possibilities that prefabrication offers for housing for the future. From the poetic constructions of Shigeru Ban to the industrial minimalism of KFN's portable structures, from the fantastical digitized aluminum prototypes of Gregg Lynn to the stylish functionality of IKEA's prefab apartments, Prefab presents a series of innovative homes and concepts which boldly demonstrate how far this much maligned building technique has come-and how far it can go. In doing so, Prefab endeavors to inspire a change in the way people think of housing and the way the architects, builders, developers, and financial institutions approach it-and ultimately, the way individuals live in it.