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5 most impressive prefab homes from 2017

From a dwelling designed by algorithms to a pop-out house

prefab dwelling in L.A.
Cover’s first built structure, a prefab dwelling designed by computer algorithms.

From tiny houses to shipping container homes, alternative housing options have never been more exciting. Prefab homes, made of pre-manufactured parts assembled on site, are also in the mix and have stretched our imaginations of what housing can be quite a bit this year.

Without further ado, here are five standout designs that show what prefab can do in 2017, including a dwelling designed by computer algorithms and 10-minute pop-out house that readers went absolutely gaga for. Take a closer look.

Prefab by algorithm


About six months after we reported that an LA startup was designing backyard prefab dwellings with computer algorithms, said startup was ready to show off its first installed unit. Made up of architects, designers, and engineers, Cover starts the design process with an extensive client survey to gather data for its algorithmic software, which then spits out floor plans optimized for customers’ needs and desires. The finished result combines a satisfying minimalist form with seamless built-in details.

The prefab that’s also tiny and smart

Founded in 2015, Austin startup Kasita finally moved towards production this year, opening a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for its high-tech tiny prefab home. The 352-square-foot dwelling is sleek on the outside, smart on the inside, packed with over 60 smart home devices that are all programmed to work together. Go inside with Curbed in the video above. The company also recently received approvals to manufacture and sell its homes in California and Nevada.

A sleek prefab for the homeless

A gabled two-story home with boxy dormer, slanted roof edge, and overhangs on a corner lot, with large bay windows sticking out on the facade. Photos by Haylie Chan and Zelig Fok via Dezeen

Designed and built by first-year graduate students at the Yale School of Architecture, in partnership with local non-profit Columbus House, this clean-lined modern prefab contains a studio on the first floor and a two-bedroom family apartment spreading over two floors. The units will go to locals who are or are at risk of becoming homeless. The design is a twist on the standard gabled house, with a slanted roof, deep overhangs, and boxy dormer windows that double as interior seating. The walls, flooring, roof panels, and windows were all prefabricated on the Yale campus.

The house that self-assembles in 10 minutes

From U.K. company Ten Fold Engineering comes this entrancing prefab that builds itself at the push of a button. Yup, the portable structure self-assembles in under 10 minutes, unfurling into an approximately 690 square foot dwelling that can serve as a home, office, clinic, shop, exhibit space, and more. The units can also be stacked or equipped with solar panels to go off-grid.

The prefab that embodies “rural modernism”

Go Logic

This year, Maine-based design-build firm Go Logic, launched a line of prefab dwellings that can be assembled onsite in less than two weeks. Ranging from 600 to 2,500 square feet, the designs in the Go Home collection marry traditional barn and cottage styles with a modern twist, namely clean lines, open floor plans, Ikea cabinetry, and passive house design.