Prefabricated architecture is getting more popular by the day and for a good reason. It’s cheaper, cleaner, and it allows great mobility. In addition, off-site construction leaves less of an impact on land and it’s also far less time-consuming. Besides being mobile and cheap prefabricated homes are often self-sustaining and eco-friendly. They may be compact, but modularity allows to enhance them to create bigger more traditional-looking homes.
Prefabricated doesn’t mean low-quality. Many of these houses were built with premium materials. Of course, designers also make use of reclaimed wood, shipping containers, and other recyclable elements to make their designs more affordable and sustainable.
Modern & Stylish Prefabricated Homes
If you look at The Blue Sky Home, a prototype design by o2 Architecture, it probably wouldn’t strike you as a prefab, and yet it was built off-site and simply towed into desert. The stylish home rests on a sturdy framing system and stands out against its rocky environment with corrugated metal accents and numerous glass inclusions.
A single-room house has a kitchen, a living, and a dining area. Its terrace providing with outdoor lounge space along a built-in hot tub.
Beachaus I is another dwelling that looks nothing like a prefabricated structure it is. The 2,085-square-foot property is an energy-efficient, certified LEED home with two storeys that accommodate three bedrooms, an office, and a rainwater collector.
Looking like your typical modern building, it was at one point selling for a whopping $1.35 million. Not at all bad for a pre-manufactured house.
Another one of the weirdly expensive prefabricated homes is this $1.5 million three-storey three bedroom house by Huff Haus in England.
With its steel beams, pitched roof, and glazed walls it looks like a classic house if only a bit sunken into the surrounding green landscape.
As if to prove a prefab can look fab the architect Robert Gurney built bm One Modular house on a tight budget (can you tell?) A spacious modern home consists of 13 modules and even has a swimming pool. All the amenities were pre-installed to accommodate a 6,820-square-foot property assembled on-site in just two days.
Modern aesthetic implies minimalism, hence, the clean lines and boxy shapes. Interiors are full of bright accents, though and the outdoor areas are complete with wooden terraces and bridges.
Small Prefab Homes
Small size is one of the reasons prefabs are cheap and mobile. Though small, this country prefab in Victoria boasts a strikingly elegant design. The house comprises two wings with an open space in the middle to accommodate the living area.
The protruding terrace sits on stilts with the roof acting as a sun awning.
Claesson Koivisto Rune and manufacturers at Fiskarhedenvillan have created a series of prefabricated homes called ‘Tind’, which means “mountain peaks”. A single pitch roof carries a distant resemblance to the natural earth relief and the modern design makes it a stylish modern home.
The house has a shape of a barn with its wide entrance and windows. A skylight located almost in the center of a roof lets a bit more light into the interior clad in wood.
While many architects strive to reduce construction costs and make their prefabricated homes sustainable, Cubicco also make their designs hurricane-proof. Available in different sizes and models these homes are made to withstand (290 km/h) winds and 10ft of snow.
These can also be outfitted with rainwater collectors and a solar power system to make them more eco-friendly. Flatpack designs also offer a cube-like home office shed that can double as a hurricane shelter.
In their effort to create a functional micro home, a New York-based firm Cocoon9 created this open layout design that can accommodate built-in and folding furniture. Flat roof can be equipped with solar panels or a rooftop garden.
The facade includes a niche for a vertical garden with a special planter pot system. And the wooden porch also doubles as a small terrace.
Wooden Prefabricated Houses
Modscape Cottesloe house is a fabulous prefab located in Australia, and built for a family that moved from Switzerland.
The four bedroom abode boasts a study, an open living/kitchen area and a covered outdoor terrace. The house’s stylish wooden exterior fits in nicely with its surroundings.
Called Big Box, this energy-efficient structure by Bert & May Group can be built in just 14 weeks and assembled in one day. Accommodating two bedrooms, the house with numerous windows features a wrap structure to provide great insulation.
Its reclaimed wood look makes for a rustic aesthetic both on the inside and outside. Furnished with upcycled and reclaimed furniture, the rustic home is incredibly eco-friendly.
Designed by PAD studio the mobile Forest Lodge is an insulated home to Mel and Roy Matthews who were prohibited from having a permanent construction in England’s New Forest National Parkland.
Although it doesn’t look like it, the wood-clad mobile building can be lifted with crane and moved.
Sleek Modern Homes
Ecological House 3.0 is not only sustainable, as the name suggests, but also automated. Built by NOEM the house consists of two connected modules, which together make 1,033 square feet of space.
Controlled via smartphone and radio the house’s many features make it a dream home for any modern gadget enthusiast. Its stylish design combines wooden elements encased in a rounded white carcass. Futuristic dream!
MIMA House by architects Mário Sousa and Marta Brandão is only one in a series of prefabricated homes designed with certain specifications in mind. They have to be high-quality, the construction should be fast, and the price attractive.
The result is modern and minimalist homes that come in 387-square-foot templates. And this L-shaped design also wraps around a swimming pool.
Prefabs With Glass Facades
Though it looks like a prefabricated home, Vipp‘s 592 square foot Shelter is considered (by its designers) a furniture piece like kitchen rather than a work of architecture. Assembled on-site in just a matter of days the half a million dollar structure has everything necessary for a comfortable modern retreat.
Inspired by planes, ferries, and submarines where “every single screw serves a purpose” the Shelter is minimalist but functional.
A glass box house is an intriguing concept. Desai Chia Architecture realized it for a rural New York retreat. The structure overlooking a trout pond and a farmland sits 90 miles north of Manhattan and allows unobstructed views of the green locale.
Both sides of the glass structure accommodate a kitchen and a master bedroom while the core of the building houses the rest of amenities.
B10 is a zero energy, zero waste, and zero emissions house that was designed as part of research into sustainable architecture by Werner Sobek Group. A self-sustaining property produces enough clean energy for itself and to power two electric cars and a neighbouring house.
Made of recyclable materials and with minimum resources, B10 can be easily picked for parts without leaving a trace on site.
Unusual Prefabricated House Designs
The Floating House by MOS Architects was built on Lake Huron using a prefabrication method to cut down the costs associated with traditional building methods. To accommodate the ever-changing nature of the lake the house was perched on steel platoons.
The building itself was constructed off-site and then transported to the location. Featuring a beautiful screened porch the light wood dwelling is connected to the shore with a built-in and makeshift bridges.
Villa Libeskind is a series of 30 limited edition luxury homes by Daniel Libeskind. Made of premium materials the house design is as modern as they get and has enough space to accommodate four bedrooms.
Available anywhere in the world, the structure requires on-site assembly that takes a few months.
Haus W by Kraus Schönberg Architects is interesting because unlike many other prefabricated homes it cuts into the ground to provide the living area with enough space and light. The upper level houses various rooms of different heights that correspond with their purpose.
A few big windows illuminate those other rooms while most of the sunken living area is glazed.
House 11×11 has exactly those measurements. Designed by Titus Bernhard, it’s clad in vertical wooden slats that give it an unconventional look.
The inner prefabricated structure made of glass opens to the beautiful natural site. The corner living area on the ground level is fully exposed, allowing plenty of natural light into the home library.
Prefab Homes in Different Styles
Aamodt Plumb has designed this modern prefabricated family home in Austin, Texas in a way to avoid felling the trees growing on site. The resulting two wings each have their own purpose and look.
The two-storey private wing clad in stucco is reserved for sleeping. And the second single floor wing in contrasting charred cedar accommodates living room, dining, and entertainment.
EFFEKT‘s Villa One is a prefabricated home in Copenhagen that consists of three wings and can be expanded, if necessary. The idea was to offer first-time buyers a more personalized living space.
The timber-clad house features modern glass inclusions that open to a minimalist backyard. But the rest of its design is super minimal.
A-Acero offers modular houses at a fraction of the cost of a traditional dwelling. They come in an ultra contemporary glossy look that is more associated with modern kitchens.
Cutting down the cost on construction the architects like the ability to improvise with prefab construction and also offer the houses with fully furnished interiors.
Muji Hut homes come in a series of designs. Offering a Japanese aesthetic the houses are built on principles of minimalism and sustainability.
Designed in a collaboration of designers Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, and Konstantin Grcic the huts appeared at the Tokyo’s annual Design Touch event last year.
Streamline Prefab Shapes
Designed by Felipe Assadi, Casa Remota is located 100 miles from Chile overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The modern structure is built out of wood and iron and as many modern homes features glazed walls.
Perched on stilts the house can be anchored anywhere in the world and assembled in mere 6 hours.
Another Passive House design comes from Artisans Group. The prefabricated building located on a Shaw Island, WA tries to blend with its forest and mountainous surroundings with its dark wooden structure.
The numerous huge windows help to make small space seem bigger and lighter from the inside.
Philippe Starck’s house prototype is a PATH prefab two-storey structure with a rooftop garden and metal-framed glazed windows. The aluminum clad design is another one in a series of prefabricated homes.
The house produces 50% of its consumed energy and can also have a rainwater collection system and a rooftop garden.
Ultra Modern Prefabs
To step away from the typical prefab look, Dwell partnered with Turkel Designs to create Axiom series of modern homes that make the best of the off-site construction approach and design.
The modern-looking buildings come in several models. Each with a distinctive multi-level look. Following the sustainability trend they employ passive heating and cooling techniques and high insulation.
Breezehouse by Blu Homes is one of those prefabricated homes that look more like a modern building constructed on-site. The large glazed area of its facade allows for an airy open layout look, though its modules allow to separate the rooms.
The sliding glass doors open up to generous terraces that offer plenty of outdoor lounge space.
Prefabs & Additions
Sandy Rendel Architects replaced old workshops at Lewes East Essex, England with a house that complements the gorgeous surrounding natural scenery. Partially prefabricated, the house stand out with a Cor-Ten rainscreen that clads the upper level and contrasts with the white structure underneath.
Glazed walls of the ground floor open up to water views and the beautiful tricolor trees that grow just outside the property.
Prefabricated homes aren’t just private projects anymore. These stackable homes were designed by shedkm and developed in Islington, Manchester. The stylish modern facades with protruding windows look contemporary and attractive.
Each house layout can be designed by the buyers before moving. Available in two sizes – a 1,000-square-foot unit and a 1,500-square-foot unit these prefabricated homes have a backyard, a balcony, and tall ceilings.
Prefabricated Nature by MYCC is an interesting project. Located in Cedeira the traditional-looking building has an interesting facade that echoes the eucalyptus trees growing in the area. At night the house lights illuminate the pattern showing it off even better.
Divided into six modules, the house has an attic space beside the bedroom, living room, and kitchen. Opening up to the views of the sea the attic space can double as a guest room or a play area for kids.
This gorgeous prefabricated passive house was built by ecoDESIGNfinca in Mallorca. The luxury 4,305-square-foot property boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a spa, a Jacuzzi, a bodega, and heated floors. Its private well produces 21,133 gallons of water per day.
The house looks nothing like your typical prefabricated homes that can fit on a truck. This modern villa is on sale with an undeveloped plot of 182,986 square feet and a beautiful swimming pool.
Passion House by Architect 11 was conceived as an extension or a guest house. But by the way it looks we’d say it’s a decent house in its own right. There are ventilation system, full automation, and management system that allow to use solar heating. In addition, it has a bedroom, a kitchen, and even a sauna.
The production can be done off-site and its modular structure allows to choose between a bigger bedroom or a bigger sauna.
Houses of Unusual Shapes
Not all prefabricated homes look alike. Some designs are incredibly unique. Sure, they may not have the practicality of their rectangular counterparts but they are still functional and more importantly unique.
Hus 1 is a small nature-inspired home by Torsten Ottesjo who wanted to create a mobile functional dwelling of a shape harmonious with nature. He went with a leaf-like shape that made his house look like an elven dwelling.
Spaceship house by NOEM wasn’t inspired by a spaceship necessarily. The client just wanted to make the most of the location views and a rounded rectangular structure on stilts proposed by the architects got the job done.
The house is energy-efficient. Consisting of three wooden modules, it is clad in metal framing making for better insulation.
Another unusual looking prefabricated home by architect Josué Gillet was made of shipping containers stacked to fit on a small plot. The limited budget also played a role in choosing the approach.
The result is amazing, however, featuring three levels, each with an area of 1,076 square feet. And an asymmetric shape of the house definitely makes it stand out.
The KissKiss House has a complex design. Prefabricated wooden modules create a triangular courtyard and are connected with wooden bridges.
While glass inserts aren’t numerous the house does include a triangular glass entrance perhaps to repeat the shape of the module and echo the courtyard.
Vacay Getaway Prefabs
After his visit to Tasmania, resident David Burns has designed a vacation home with Misho+Associates. Following a principle of a box within a box the eye-catchy house of 818 square feet has a veranda formed between external and internal boxes.
Assembled in a single day the house has everything a resident may need while its double walls allow to control temperatures during changing seasons.
Designed by Atelier Marko Brajovic an Arca Residence is a semi-circular retreat in Brazil that boasts a neighboring waterfall, two bedrooms, and a full kitchen. Built of a composite of steel, zinc, and aluminum the house is clad in timber and opens to the surrounding forest at both sides thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass panes.
The house’s unusual shape definitely makes it stand out, but another one of its impressive features is disassembly.
We’re sure to see prefabricated homes rise in popularity even further. Their time and cost efficiency and also lack of environmental impact make them a nice compromise between a mobile house and a permanent one.