land rush...


As I get older, more and more of my friends are becoming property owners... purchasing condos or full fledged houses on varying sizes of lots in various locations across the country. I've been roaming between a number of different residences for the past few years, none of which I was particularly fond of or exclusively mine. I've always wondered what kind of home I'll end up with... especially when I'm considering my career path and believable financial situation. I also get caught up in photos that I see in magazines or particularly spectacular homes that I might see on television... and then it becomes a question of whether or not I would want to buy a pre-existing home or go in search of some undeveloped lot that is convieniently located near all the amenties and has access to high speed internet (especially important). If you think of the labour that's involved in planning where you want to live... well, it becomes absolutely mind boggling.

Recently at the Vancouver Art Gallery I saw the travelling exhibit from the Walker Art Center for Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses. It was a rather interesting exhibit, worthwhile visiting if you are at all interested in residential architecture. The art gallery had this description of the exhibit on their website.

Using the latest technologies and innovations in building systems and mass customization, this new era of “prefab” is changing long-held preconceptions that such houses are cheap and homogenous. Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses profiles the work of eight leading designers in the field: Alchemy Architects (Goeffrey Warner, Josh Capistrant, Tomas Weitzel, Shayne Schuldt, Lewis Colburn), Lazor Office (Charlie Lazor), Marmol Radziner + Associates (Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner), Michelle Kauffman Designs, Pinc House (Göran Aldvik, Johan Lionell, Maria Rutensköld), Resolution: 4 Architecture (Joseph D. Tanney and Robert L. Luntz), Rocio Romero and Steve Holl.

Decidedly contemporary in style, their newly-built houses reflect a range of approaches, from a kit of parts for self-assembly and factorybuilt structures that are delivered whole, to customized modules that are combined in different ways and assembled on site. The selections reflect a variety of cultural, environmental and economic considerations. For Black Barn, Pinc House of Sweden created a pitched-roof, modern adaptation of an ancient Viking longhouse design. Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse adopts a variety of ecological approaches to living and building, while Marmol Radziner’s Desert House exemplifies the precision and craft made possible by contemporary manufacturing. Such houses parallel the lifestyles of their owners, who desire more flexible living spaces and want to speed the pace of the building process without sacrificing the quality of materials or construction.
Some of these buildings were a bit too mod for my tastes, but some of them I quite liked. Despite being prefabricated structures, the finished products still maintained an original quality. I was especially interested in the elements of green design and sustainability that could be incorporated into individual structures. And most of the structures seemed affordable, which considering the high price tag on real estate these days, affordability of any kind of well designed and aesthetically pleasing home is definitely an attractive point.

The exhibit is only on display until September 4th, so check it out before then if you're in the area. Otherwise here are links to some of the featured designs in the exhibit.



Desert House

Sunset Breezehouse (My favourite)

Black Barn

Mountain Retreat and other Modern Modular Designs

LV & LVL Home Kits (I made a post about this a while back)

Turbulence House