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kitHAUS at Westfield UTC, So Fresh and So Clean

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There’s a lot of talk about prefab revolutionizing the world of residential living, but when it comes down to it, prefab could be used all over the place.  This post shows how successful prefab could be in the commercial context.  Just as a little background, there’s a mall in San Diego, California, called Westfield University Towne Center, or Westfield UTC.  The mall has been around for some 30+ years, so it’s in the middle of an upgrade.  As part of the upgrade, Westfield UTC wants to incorporate environmentally friendly designs, so they retained kitHAUS to create a Visitors Center pavilion to showcase the "UTC Experience."  Basically, it’s a place for the community to interact with Westfield on design ideas for the mall remodel. 

Ultimately, the kitHAUS design used two customized K2 structures.  The first unit is the "lounge pavilion," and it’s designed to be open to the elements with louver doors for shade.  It houses a lounge and interactive display.  The second unit is the "Gallery," and it is enclosed with glass doors on all sides.  The Gallery houses a model of the potential mall design, large plasma screens, and interactive displays.  Notice the incredible looking straight lines of the deck, buildings, and trellises.  It’s so clean and modern, it’s hard not to glare at every element of construction. 

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Home(scale) Brings Innovation to Modern Green Project for Philly

5th Street View

I’ve been sitting on details of the newest green development in Philly and I just can’t hold it any longer.  Actually, CEO Steven Nebel shot me an email and said it was okay to use the renderings.  The development is called High Street Development, and it’s expected to be a net zero energy, mixed use community.  High Street Development will have modern residential units ranging in size from 1000 to 2100 sf.  Recently, the project was presented to the community and enthusiastically received, which I think is due to the project’s innate approachability and sustainability.  Let me explain that. 

The developer, home(scale), has three primary goals in mind with this project: (1) offer a project with the sophistication of something like the Hearst Building in NYC, (2) make it at a price point that is affordable to an average middle-class consumer, and (3) provide high-class, superior amenities that look incredible.  To do this, you have to be smart and resourceful–it takes serious effort and experience to create an approachable product without all the cost overruns.  Currently, home(scale) is working with Silpa Inc., an environmental consultancy, to provide the best systems, whether that’s shared geothermal and solar systems with fully automated controls, or otherwise.  There’s also going to be a car sharing program for residents.  But these are just a few of the details being finalized.  Expect to see High Street Development completed sometime late winter or spring 2008.  More images below. 

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The Orb Steps Up for a Younger Generation

Home Office The Orb

This is incredible.  It would be nice if someone here in the U.S. would put something like THE ORB into production.  According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation.  It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices.  Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable."  Appeal?  Done. 

Now, the website reveals some details on how The Orb is built (and Treehugger suggests that using GRP may not be that green), but I think one could use green materials to get it built.  Plus, you could toss up a few solar panels on a separate pole and provide renewable energy for it too.  Another positive aspect of The Orb is that it’s small by design, but chances are, this will not be a primary dwelling, so size is not an issue.  Regardless, I dig it and think it could be used in a variety of applications.  Plus, it’s kind of similar to Dasparkhotel (and we know that’s been successful).  More images below.  Via CubeMe

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Jeriko House Explores The Platform for Living

Jh1

I’m going to be talking with the CEO of Jeriko House, Shawn Burst, later this week, but I still want to post an update on what’s happening with this Louisiana-based modern prefab company.  I broke the story on Jeriko House last January and a lot has happened since that time.  Right now, Jeriko House is smack dab in the middle of three different projects, with more on the development table.  Feel free to head on over the newly redesigned, updated website for current projects, the gallery, and other information on what the company has to offer.

Hypothetical: What Would it Take?
Jeriko House is prepared to adapt their designs for a variety of climates and sites, so they can go anywhere in the United States.  With that in mind, let me throw out a little hypothetical to satisfy my own curiosity.  Assume your are in the market for a new home and you have an empty lot.  What would it take to put a Jeriko House on your lot?  Any thoughts?  Unload in the comments.  Also, some incredible pictures below the jump.

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Royal Homes Modern Prefab: from Concept to Reality

Ks_lakeside1

This excellent story was originally published by Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter on July 21, 2007.  Inconspicuously placed into the blog stream of information on a Saturday, it’s particularly special in that it offers a glimpse of taking prefab from nothing to something.  I hope you enjoy the following information, links, and images as much as I did.

Until recently my day job was working with Royal Homes to promote modern prefab. We commissioned Kohn Shnier Architects to design the small and efficient Q series, which was seen by a Toronto patron of the Arts, who asked for a larger version as a second home for two families in Muskoka, Ontario. I visited the site this week for the first time since the construction and installation, which can be seen here. Another disclosure: I am a terrible photographer and these pictures do not do it justice.

The building is essentially a sixteen foot deep wall; that the maximum width that can go down the road, and Martin Kohn took advantage of this to create the thin, long structure.

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Are Skyscraper Farms Part of the Solution? (S2)

Vue_nocturne

With a skyscraper farm, the idea is that one can control the environment and manner of producing crops.  Unless the building is wiped out by tornado or earthquake, vertical farms have the potential to reduce weather-related crop failures.  And with modern engineering, one could set up an elaborate system of rainwater reclamation and filtering to avoid water runoff pollution.  Plus, skyscrapers go everywhere.  You could have towers in Tokyo, London, Shanghai, Dallas, or where ever, growing organic goods.  Locally-produced organic goods sans the transportation premium and carbon emissions–now that has the potential to be disruptive!  Vertical farms use artificial light and with the right combination of renewable energy power a building, I could see this being a legitimate endeavor.  Experts suggest we’re about 15 years away from realizing something like this, but hey, it’s not one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. 

The above image is the Living Tower by Pierre Sartoux.  The first level below the jump is Gordon Graff’s SKYfarm.  The second level is the Vertical Farm by Chris Jacobs.  Link for background story; link for images.

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