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Site design 📐 Prefabricated multiple family design

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,578
Points
21
As the cost of construction and materials have continued to climb, we have been seeing more ideas for a modular or prefab construction of units. However, some of the initial designs I have been presented with generally have a mobilehome park vibe to them in terms of site design, and building massing architecture. We are generally supportive of the idea of more cost-effective construction alternatives, but wanted to see if anyone had some great examples that have been constructed that I could use a reference to help guide that development.
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,634
Points
44
As the cost of construction and materials have continued to climb, we have been seeing more ideas for a modular or prefab construction of units. However, some of the initial designs I have been presented with generally have a mobilehome park vibe to them in terms of site design, and building massing architecture. We are generally supportive of the idea of more cost-effective construction alternatives, but wanted to see if anyone had some great examples that have been constructed that I could use a reference to help guide that development.
This one is next to my office and about 80% complete. https://www.groarc.com/portfolios/253-academy-street/

Street View https://goo.gl/maps/YwVHLaXefbjDFyZy8
 
Messages
3,043
Points
26
. . . ...We are generally supportive of the idea of more cost-effective construction alternatives, but wanted to see if anyone had some great examples that have been constructed that I could use a reference to help guide that development.
Question:
Your location being California...
Do your modular or prefab units have to meet additional earthquake-resiliency specifications (that we in the Northeast U.S. might not necessarily know about)?

 

bureaucrat#3

Member
Messages
128
Points
8
Andres Duany had a short (10 minute) presentation at CNU about pre-fab units. He got caught pontificating and didn't get to get through everything. His concept was that mobile home parks don't have to be bad. They can have good sense of community. There should be good design, but we have to embrace cheap and light materials like vinyl and shipping containers. We should look at overall design and not worry so much about the frontage (I would have loved seeing faces of people in the room after they've spent 30 years preaching frontage design.) He showed some designs built for a costal community. I can't find an example online. They were a large shipping container on a smaller container on a slab designed for earthquakes. The living area was all elevated with parking under the overhang (like a beach house on piers). Neat concept, not anywhere functional for ADA or universal design purposes. If I can find an image I'll post it.

He's working with a group called No-Nonsense Housing Company. The goal is to create housing starting in the $50,000 range going up.

Things I really liked that he said (paraphrased).

Mobile homes suck because they try to mimic traditional housing. We should get rid of the pitched roof and some of the silly accents and try to make them look more like a new type of housing.

Affordable housing is usually more expensive than market housing because of the soft costs are higher due to the additional legal, financing and other requirements for incentives and credits.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,578
Points
21
Andres Duany had a short (10 minute) presentation at CNU about pre-fab units. He got caught pontificating and didn't get to get through everything. His concept was that mobile home parks don't have to be bad. They can have good sense of community. There should be good design, but we have to embrace cheap and light materials like vinyl and shipping containers. We should look at overall design and not worry so much about the frontage (I would have loved seeing faces of people in the room after they've spent 30 years preaching frontage design.) He showed some designs built for a costal community. I can't find an example online. They were a large shipping container on a smaller container on a slab designed for earthquakes. The living area was all elevated with parking under the overhang (like a beach house on piers). Neat concept, not anywhere functional for ADA or universal design purposes. If I can find an image I'll post it.

He's working with a group called No-Nonsense Housing Company. The goal is to create housing starting in the $50,000 range going up.

Things I really liked that he said (paraphrased).

Mobile homes suck because they try to mimic traditional housing. We should get rid of the pitched roof and some of the silly accents and try to make them look more like a new type of housing.

Affordable housing is usually more expensive than market housing because of the soft costs are higher due to the additional legal, financing and other requirements for incentives and credits.

I think those are some decent points. Our project concept has enough issues I am hoping to get them on the right footing, but as it stands now, it looks like a bunch of two story houseboats (but intended for only seniors) arranged like a mobilehome park.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,877
Points
57
As the cost of construction and materials have continued to climb, we have been seeing more ideas for a modular or prefab construction of units. However, some of the initial designs I have been presented with generally have a mobilehome park vibe to them in terms of site design, and building massing architecture. We are generally supportive of the idea of more cost-effective construction alternatives, but wanted to see if anyone had some great examples that have been constructed that I could use a reference to help guide that development.
I guess I look at it differently than some. Prefabrication is just a building method, and it is nothing new. You look back to the Sears homes that one would pick out of a catalog and everything was just assembled on site. Sure there was a bit of work done, but they were not custom built. Today there are companies that take things further where full panel systems are constructed in a factory like setting and shipped to a site to be assembled like Legos. Bensonwood is a great example of this:

With today's technology, there is zero reason to accept poor design just because they want to use a prefabricated system.
 
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