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Harbinger Container Home at WCG 2008

Second Floor - Harbinger House

So here’s the deal.  The Harbinger SG Blocks Showhouse was bad out.  Everyone I talked to loved it.  You might think that a shipping container home would feel closed-in and constrictive, but this home certainly wasn’t.  At 1700 sf, everything felt just right to me.  I was able to sneak into the Exhibit Hall early enough to get some killer images (in case you couldn’t be there), so let’s talk a walk through the Harbinger House below.

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Shipping Container Homes Below $10k

PFNC Homes PFNC Homes

Here’s the story: A handful of entrepreneurs nurtured a graduate school business plan into an actual company called PFNC Global Communities.  The acronym stands for “por fin, nuestra casa,” which is translated as “finally, a home of our own.”  PFNC’s purpose is to convert shipping containers into affordable housing for those who most desperately need it around the globe.

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Eco-friendly Modular Home Built in 60 Days, Uses 50 Percent Less Energy

Modular

Country Living Magazine’s October issue highlights an eco-friendly, modular home constructed in just 60 days by New World Home.  The home’s design is traditional and used a 19th century home as a model.  The highly energy efficient home uses 50% less energy than the average home and their modular process allows them to use less wood in the building process. 

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BrightBuilt Barn Going Net-Zero, Super-Efficient & LEED Platinum

BrightBuilt Barn Rendering

I’m starting think that maybe, just maybe, the modern farmhouse could be a gateway to contemporary for many of you.  What do you think, pretty clean design, right?  The BrightBuilt Barn was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects, factory built in components by Bensonwood (mentioned by Josh Stack in comments recently), and is being built by Gibson Design/Build as we speak.  It was designed to be net-zero and super green — the home will participate in the Living Building Challenge and, in all likelihood, qualify for LEED Platinum certification.  Geez!  So what’s in store for this 700 sf studio home:

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Prefab is Not the Answer to Affordable, Modern, and Green Homes

This article was authored by guest Chad Ludeman of Postgreen Homes. 

Prefab homes seem to be showing up more and more in the media these days, especially with two large exhibits in Philadelphia showcasing their history this year.  Like many, I hoped that prefab would be the answer to bringing modern architecture to the masses in the US and beyond.  I thought that finally, modern home design would be attainable by those of us who aren’t pulling in lofty six figure incomes. That was until I conducted extensive research into the possibility of starting a development company in Philadelphia using only prefab homes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love prefab and many of the firms out there with cutting edge designs in the prefab realm.  There are also a variety of building lessons that can be learned from the prefab methodology.  I just don’t believe it is the best way of delivering modern design to the average new home buyer.

Below we will look at this issue from two points of view.  First, we will look at the prefab industry and try to dispel some of the myths that have arisen around it.  Second, we will take a quick look at how the housing industry may be able to learn from both prefab and site-built homes to create a hybrid approach that will provide a better, more accessible solution to the home buyer and hopefully reduce the barrier of entry to modern, green, and unique residences.

Names and firms have intentionally been left out of this post in an effort to discuss only the facts, dispel some of the myths of prefab, and possibly look towards a better method for bringing modern homes to the average American.

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Muffler Shop Converted to First LEED-NC Architect Office in Georgia

Menefee + Winer LEED Office

As an interesting example of adaptive reuse, I thought it would be fun to showcase the design of Menefee + Winer’s office in Atlanta, Georgia.  Located at 1075 Brady Avenue near Georgia Tech, the 4,100 sf building used to be bland, gray muffler shop (see bottom) — but now with its vibrant colors and fierce shape, how about the transformation?  This LEED Silver building is also, interestingly, the first LEED-NC certified architect’s office in Georgia.  Here are a few things they incorporated through the gut rehab:

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