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Shigeru Ban's Prefab 'Furniture Houses' to Hit Stores This Year

For those who found piecing together entire Ikea rooms with little more than some illustrated instructions too challenging, throw away that S-wrench and consider instead holding out for a do-it-yourself kit house designed by Cardboard overlord Shigeru Ban. In collaboration with Japanese design store Muji, the starchitect is gearing up unleash his own take on the prefab home—to be referred to a Furniture House—later this year. No stranger to both ultra-efficient and stylish design, Ban began toying with the idea back in 1995, upon considering that instead of building a home and then filling it with furniture, it might be more efficient to use the furniture itself to provide structure—in place of such customary support elements as columns or loading-bearing walls.

Ban first considered this "furnishings as structural support" plan after witnessing both how many people were killed by furniture during the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in 1995, and—conversely—how many made effective shelters under it. "At the time, I realized how strong cabinets could be," Ban explains to Dwell, "and wondered if even without posts or [bearing] walls it would be enough just to have these furniture units as structural elements." Besides simply standing up to the job, the starchitect's prototype is also fittingly stylish. Walls are made from sleek, wood-panneled storage units and built-in shelves, while the low slung ceiling and open, airy feel keeps the space from feeling like a little box. The full packages—which promise to be affordable—will hit the shelves at some unspecified time this year, but until then do check out Architizer's full gallery, right this way.

· Own Your Own (Affordable) Shigeru Ban House! [Architizer]
· Q&A With Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban [Dwell]
· World-Dominating Ikea Now Makes Fully Furnished Houses [Curbed National]
· All Shigeru Ban coverage [Curbed National]
· All Muji coverage [Curbed National]