First idea for little green Indianapolis house – modular pre-fab

9 11 2007

One idea I have been taken with lately is the idea of modular houses. These are houses that are are fabricated in factories and shipped to the site rather than built from scratch on site. Why would this type of house be considered more sustainable than your typically constructed house? Well, modular houses tend to be small. Since they are factory made, modular houses use materials more efficiently with less waste. Green technology such as solar PV panels, automatic shutters etc… can be installed efficiently. Many of the models I have been researching use low-VOC materials, responsibly harvested wood and are engineered to be extremely energy efficient.

This is one of my favorites, by a Norwegian company called Lovetann, which I first saw on Inhabitat.


Most of the modular companies will design to suit your needs so if we wanted to adapt the Lovetann, perhaps we would order a smaller one, with just a tiny penthouse which would allow access to the little terrace. The Owners’ primary use for this space will be as an artist’s loft for painting so ideally, we could combine part of the 2-stories into one double height space. I love the options of solar panels and a green roof.

There are so many great modular designs out there. I’ll share some of the more notable ones.

I love this one, called Loftcube, by Aisslinger Studio in Berlin but… until they are manufactured somewhere a bit more locally, we’ll have to continue looking.


This one, called the weehouse, is a little bigger than we are looking for but it’s such a clean design. For this climate though, I think I’d install it on a foundation to prevent heat loss. This a wood frame model with oxidized steel exterior and fir interior.


There is a whole subset of pre-fab houses which are made from re-purposed shipping containers or are designed along the lines of an old fashioned RV. While they are often laudable on sustainability grounds, I object on aesthetic grounds. These are some samples of what I’m talking about.

This is Duo from miniHome and unfortunately resembles a truck in its proportions.


and this one, by Jones, Partners was an entry in the Dwell Homes Design Invitational – a competition for a pre-fab prototype home designed for mass production. The Dwell site has the most cutting edge models but this one looks way too much like the shipping container it was made from.


Some bigger models:

This one, from Jennifer Siegal, a leader in pre-fab housing design, is a beautiful combination of light and space that would work well in a variety of locations. It’s large (3,000 sf) but still a reasonable size for a family of 4.

One more: the ASAP House (House About Saving A Planet) is a zero-energy, beautifully designed modern modular house that is actually available for sale in the North East! Inhabitat did a great piece on it a couple of weeks ago.


OK, I digress. With all these interesting possibilities out there, let’s see how our Indianapolites (what do you call people who live in Indianapolis anyway?) want to proceed.

Other interesting links for more information on pre-fab houses:

Modern Modular




One response

25 06 2008
Indy House #7: Interview with the Owners « brooklyn green

[…] Modular Design: to save on material costs, ease of constructability and […]

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