Thursday Design Bits: Fab Prefab

Architecture / Culture / Design / Europe / North America

Dwell magazine has guided the rebirth of modern prefabrication in housing but the history of prefab dates back to the 1900s.

The Aladdin Company started selling house kits from its catalog in 1906. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold more than 100,000 homes from 1908 to 1940.

In the 1950s, Arts & Architecture magazine lead an experimental housing campaign called Case Study Houses where it called for architects from all over America to design and build inexpensive and efficient prototypes. Submissions included Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen. Of those built, the most famous is Case Study House #8 by Charles and Ray Eames, known as the Eames House, which was erected in 3 days.

Jens Risom prefab on Block Island Retreat is another example of a beautiful prefab home. The dream affordable vacation home off of Rhode Island… Built in 1965, it still stands as an icon today. Risom, 97, still goes every year.

But what about contemporary prefab design?


Delta Shelter by Tom Kundig. Also featured in ideal-homes.

Desert House by Marmol Radziner

And a getaway in a distant Finish island by Ville Hara in collaboration with Linda Bergroth. More in here.

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Previously on Thursday Design Bits: Open-source Design