The mkSolaire is currently the featured attraction at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) as part of the Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibition. As you can tell from the above video, it’s a prefab that includes cutting-edge green materials, energy efficient systems, a living roof, and a smart technology system. I love those rectangular, green tiles in the bathroom — check it out.
Last October we blogged about the Inhabit prefab prototype built in Washington and designed by Mithun and Hybrid. Since then, there hasn’t been much news about the prototype, except that the initial two units are for sale right now. Now comes news, however, based on an article in The Seattle Times, that Unico Properties is planning to bring Inhabit to market in a legit, 62-unit apartment complex that includes a few live/work spaces. The development is planned for a site on Dexter Avenue North above Lake Union. Unico has been quiet about the project because the land is still under contract and the permitting process has just begun. But long and short, Seattle is on the cusp of becoming a major demonstration city for green, prefab apartments in the U.S. — fantastic news for proponents of healthy, affordable, and stylish living spaces.
The fulcrum of the green building revolution, I think, is conservation and living happily with less. It’ll be interesting to see how we get there, to see if we can live lighter. In the meantime, I like to monitor small projects to see what piques the interest of crowds. Lately Abōd® has been getting some quality attention. Abōd was honored by the AIA this year with a Small Project Award. The AIA explained the concept: "The design goal was to develop a breakthrough in value-engineered lowest cost housing with an extensive array of add-on options to personalize each home. The resulting design incorporating the Catenary arch is simple and structurally sound but also aesthetically pleasing and can be built by 4 people in just one day with only a screwdriver and an awl."
Canühome is an impressive 850 sf home with a smart design that includes a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, and bedroom. Designed by Institute Without Boundaries, canühome is a healthy, sustainable, and affordable home. Perhaps, it is best suited for young couples, seniors, singles, and/or small families as either a “starter” or “finisher” house, but the possibilities are truly infinite.
I pulled out the April issue of Dwell this weekend and noticed an ad for the Énóvo House. My interest was piqued by reading the copy, so I went online to research more. There’s a website for the Énóvo House, which is currently being built just north of Montreal. But from my research, the Énóvo name seems to represent something bigger — the idea that a green, modular home can evolve with the needs of the owner. According to the website, Énóvo can be adapted to most any terrain, and because it’s configured by modules, the design can morph according to the various particularities of an owner’s life and needs.
Architect Michelle Kaufmann has made a big splash in Chicago this week during the opening of her Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The PrairieMod crew and myself were fortunate enough to be able to spend the past two days previewing the home and are excited to share some details with you. If you’re interested, feel free to check out our podcast interview with Michelle where she explains how the project came to be and the 5 eco-principles utilized by her firm.
The showcase "Smart Home" is Kaufmann’s mkSolaire plan, which is designed for a city lot and has a loft-like feeling to it. Its goal is to address the space challenges found with infill lots and standard row home configurations. The brilliant thing about this exhibit is that it is fully functional, not just a shadow of what the design could be. And in case you’re wondering, the house will be dismantled after the exhibit closes in January 2009.