Prefab presents a series of innovative homes and concepts that boldly demonstrate that this is not your grandmother's prefab, offers a glimpse into the history of prefabricated housing over the last century, and reveals a wealth of practical and attractive alternatives to the status quo.
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Prefab presents a series of innovative homes and concepts that boldly demonstrate that this is not your grandmother's prefab, offers a glimpse into the history of prefabricated housing over the last century, and reveals a wealth of practical and attractive alternatives to the status quo.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586851323
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 9/13/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Allison Arieff is a writer, senior editor of the architecture magazine dwell, and co-author of Trailer Travel. She is also the editor of several books on art and culture, including Airstream: A History of the Land Yacht and Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop. She lives in San Francisco

BRYAN BURKHART is the designer and co-author of Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht and Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America. As creative director of his own firm, Modernhouse, he has designed books for Taschen, Chronicle Books, and Gibbs-Smith Publishers. Arieff and Burkhart live in San Francisco.

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Read an Excerpt

Prefabricated building systems can be traced as far back as the seventeenth century when a panelized wood house was shipped from England to Cape Ann in 1624 to provide housing for a fishing fleet. Swedes introduced a notched building-corner technique for the consturction of log cabins just a little over a decade later. By the nineteenth century, portable structures had grown in number as new settlements and colonies were formed, and with them, a demand for immediate housing solutions. The kit houses shipped by rail during the California gold rush in 1849 are one example. Iron buildings shipped to British colonies later in the century are another. By the early part of the twentieth centruy, architects and inventors J. A. Brodie developed wood-framed duplex units in 1904. Four years later, Thomas Edison developed a poured-concrete house meant to provode workers with housing that was not only safe and affordable but also, as described by Scientific American, "artisitic, comfortable, sanitary and not monotonously uniform." Despite Edison's best intentions, it was never built because it was simply too heavy.
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Table of Contents









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Many prefab models are certainly CATNAP (Cheapest Available Technology Narrowly Avoiding Prosecution) and destined for early demise." -- Jay Baldwin, Designer, 2001

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.

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