David Rockwell--an architect best known for theaters, grand restaurant interiors, and posh hotels--is getting into the prefab game. (Click Image To Enlarge)
ROCKWELL GROUP IS TEAMING UP WITH C3 DESIGN TO BUILD MODULAR HOMES FOR LUXURY BUYERS.
He has partnered with Fred Carl* of the appliance company Viking Range to build the first luxury prefabricated homes for Carl's new modular housing venture, C3 Design, Inc.
He has partnered with Fred Carl of the appliance company Viking Range to build the first luxury prefabricated homes for Carl's new modular housing venture, C3 Design, Inc. (Click Image To Enlarge)
Rockwell says that the modular homes will offer "a luxury design at a less than luxury price." He unveiled the Pinwheel series, a luxury line of prefabricated homes for luxury buyers at the Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles in July 2014.
Prefab architecture is typically associated with affordable housing, not luxury design. Because prefab buildings are constructed offsite, then shipped for assembly, they are less resource-intensive than traditional buildings. Rockwell and his team hope that with some architectural finesse, they can create stylish digs with minimal environmental impact.
He said in a phone interview.
"Prefab didn’t need to mean compromise in any way."
Ultimately, the architect plans to work with C3 to design interior additions like prefab wine cellars.
Creating a home that doesn't necessarily look like a cookie-cutter container became one of the key challenges. Rockwell says.
"When you have a building block like a rectangle, you don’t want to have a railroad situation. That limitation became the key contributing factor to the design."
His 2,400-square-foot house consists of four rectangular rooms arranged around a 500-square-foot interior courtyard. Rockwell was inspired by his childhood in Mexico, where "outdoor space was part of the lifestyle." The house features two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, with a study that can be converted into an additional bedroom. The kitchen comes complete with a 10-foot-long marble island and professional grade appliances. Rockwell says.
"I love the fact that you have this little private retreat where you can entertain outdoors and it’s connected directly to the kitchen."
Since a prefab house can be shipped anywhere, Rockwell wanted to find a way to ensure the houses could fit into the local landscape, even if that landscape looked radically different from one buyer to the next. The exterior of the house will have a variety of aesthetics so that it can blend in just as well in Phoenix as it does in Honolulu. A hanging screen on the outside of the house--available in everything from steel to reclaimed wood to green landscaping--offers another way to give the house a more tailored aesthetic. Rockwell says.
"In a modular landscape, what we try to do is come up with a design that is very flexible."
His 2,400-square foott house consists of four rectangular rooms arranged around a 500-square foot interior courtyard. Rockwell was inspired by his childhood in Mexico, where "outdoor space was part of the lifestyle." (Click Image To Enlarge)
The more customizable a house is, the less it looks like it came straight off a conveyor belt.
For some, that means an eco-friendly way to build a swank vacation home. For others, it may make a carefully designed home a slightlymore budget-friendly option (prices haven't been released yet). Rockwell homes for the masses! Ish.
COMMENTARY: For Rockwell, a majority of the inspiration behind Pinwheel’s design came from his upbringing in Mexico. The architect describes his childhood as one that was heavily vested in outdoor space. His connection with the outdoors motivated him to include a courtyard in Pinwheel’s plans. With this project, Rockwell and Carl really wanted to out do the notion of what prefabricated architecture could mean. They aimed to challenge the norms and prove that just because resources are limited, prefabricated doesn’t have to mean cookie-cutter looks and cul-de-sac dreams. Together they want to tackle the notion that affordability and luxury are not mutually exclusive. Yeah, we’re listening, too…
The U.S. Prefabricated Housing Marketing
Prefabricated housing shipments for the U.S. are forecast to rise 13.6 percent annually through 2017 to 140,000 units, a vast improvement from the declines of the 2007-2012 period. Prefabricated housing will benefit from a rebound in housing starts. Both types of prefabricated housing declined steadily from 2002 on, and were hit hard by the housing market collapse that began in 2007. As the housing market and general economy recover, demand for prefabricated housing is expected to rise along with total single-family housing starts. Despite the promise of some reduction in construction costs, these products have had limited market penetration, in part because of consumers' familiarity with traditional construction practices, or in the case of manufactured housing, some stigma attached to the product itself. These and other trends are presented in Prefabricated Housing, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Overall, shipments of manufactured housing will reach 90,000 units in 2017.Demand for manufactured housing is concentrated in rural areas and in certain segments of the population -- particularly lower income groups such as young, first time home buyers and those over 55, such as retirees on a fixed income. Expected growth in these populations will boost manufactured housing demand. However, manufactured housing's market share is projected to drop from that of 2012 as the economy continues to expand and conventional mortgages become easier to obtain, and as new regulations make chattel loans (commonly used for manufactured housing) more difficult to secure.
For other prefabricated housing, demand is more evenly spread throughout geographical areas and the segments of the population. As such, demand is less affected by trends in certain areas or populations, and will more closely track demand for overall single-family housing. Therefore, market shares for other prefabricated housing types will be little changed, and demand increases will be similar to those for single-family housing overall.
The Global Prefabricated Housing Marketing
According to reports by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the world pre-fabricated housing market will reach 827,000 units by 2017. Growth in the world pre-fabricated housing market will be driven by the following key factors:
- Continuous technological developments
- Positive governmental regulations
- Growing promotional activities of manufacturers
- Ongoing recovery in world economies
- Growing Demand in Developing countries of Asia and Latin America Key growth drivers in the World Market
DRM Prefab researched the global pre-fabricated housing market and produced the following detailed analysis:
Courtesy of an article dated June 20, 2014 appearing in Fast Company Design, an article dated July 28, 2014 appearing in The Street, a press release dated June 20, 2014 issued by C3 Design, Inc., an article dated July 9, 2014 appearing in Urban Scrawl, and an article dated August 3, 2013 appearing in SlideShare