The idea that prefab homes can provide an efficient alternative to traditional construction is no longer news. Besides digging deep into all kinds of prefab dreams percolating throughout the last century, Curbed also been sharing plenty of prefab options currently available to order—from the wicked-cool to the relatively affordable, from the eco-friendly to the stormproof to the best prefab upgrades for your backyard shed.
Of course, in the mean time, architects and designers are continuing to push the boundaries of prefab, whether that’s in cost-efficiency, sustainability cred, or pure aesthetics. Here now, the seven projects from 2016 that make prefab living seem as enticing as ever.
Kicking things off is this striking creation from Portuguese prefab pros MIMA Lab. Inspired by the work of minimalist artists like Donald Judd and John McCracken, the super glossy MIMA Light appears to levitate right off the ground. The secret? Wraparound mirrors at the base of the home. As for the interior, you get a kitchenette and bathroom, plus an open living, dining, and sleeping areas—all clad in pinewood.
Dubldom, a promising (and affordable!) prefab line created by Russian firm BIO Architects, recently started taking U.S. pre-orders for its cabin-like modern homes. If two recently completed models are any indication (shown above and in the very top photo of this article), Dubldoms are simple and stylish.
Shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival’s Small Project Award, this tiny prefab home from Estonian design collective Kodasema can easily be dismantled and transported to another location. The 215-square-foot dwelling as shown functions as a home with a living, dining, and kitchen area, plus a lofted bedroom space, bathroom, and terrace. But it can be adapted for use as a cafe, office, studio, or classroom, as well. The four-layer glass facade enhances both insulation and natural light. Solar panels on the roof can also help power the home.
Over the summer, Bay Area startup Avava Systems introduced BriteSpace, its line of small dwellings measuring between 120 and 480 square feet. The first completed project, shown here, is a 264-square-foot backyard guesthouse built using high-quality, sustainable materials like real oak flooring, low-e windows, structural-insulated panels, and LED lighting. It looks real nice, so don’t be too surprised by the price tag. The estimated cost for a fully-functional standard unit like this is around $85,000, not including add-ons like solar energy and rain water collection systems.
This recently completed pair of guesthouses from Minimod, the prefab arm of Brazil and Uruguay-based architecture firm MAPA, is each built from modular components arranged in different configurations. The modularity allows for flexibility in interior layouts as well as framing of the surrounding views.
Muji, the minimalist Japanese home goods brand, is no stranger to prefab housing. This year, the company unveiled a prototype of the Window House, which is larger than its previous prefab designs. The open-plan, two-story dwelling is predictably dreamy in that pared-back Muji way, but what’s more intriguing is how the company is approaching the design development process. Indeed, over the summer, Muji was taking applications for someone to live in the fully-furnished house, rent-free, for two-whole years in exchange for regular feedback about the experience. We’d love to see where this goes.
Australian firm Archiblox built this 1,722-square-foot stunner with sustainability thoroughly in mind. Going prefab in the first place means a minimal impact on the gorgeous natural landscape. They also sited the house with an east-west orientation optimized for cross-ventilation, while a green roof helps minimize rainwater runoff and solar penetration. Inside, a high-contrast kitchen adds some extra pizzazz.