«I am convinced that architecture can not be anything other than the expression of a civilization. The expression of the essence of that civilization. »

Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe was a visionary of contemporary architecture, a genius of the discipline who knew how to adapt the form to the environment, that is, architecture to the society where it lives. For this reason, we have chosen one of his famous phrases to speak in this article about the future of housing, which will be “the expression of the essence of our society”. 

After the global pandemic that our society has experienced, a great change is coming, where housing construction and architecture will be transformed: cheaper, faster to build and ecological housing. That is why the new trends in architecture already include some of these concerns and reflections.

With all these ingredients, and detecting that already today there is an increased interest in prefabricated housing, let’s discover more about prefab houses and their relationship with this new post Covid-19 civilization.

What is a prefabricated house

A prefabricated house is a complete house that has been built in a studio and transported to a place previously prepared to house it. They are built in sections and can be made of different sizes, designs or materials.

This type of housing has become popular because it offers an efficient residential solution, as it is economical and more environmentally friendly than on-site construction. 

Also, prefab houses are designed to be lived in, meaning that they are very versatile. They allow the new owner to choose, for example, its construction material. The most usual are prefabricated wooden homes, as they are the most economical and the lightest, which makes it easy to transport.

But you can also find prefabricated houses made of other materials such as PVC, a very insulating material against cold and heat; or concrete, which is more resistant and similar to a traditional house; or steel, with a more modern design and less maintenance. 

Some of the benefits offered by prefab houses include the speed of availability, since they are practically entirely built. They are also more economical than a conventional house. And as we have already mentioned, prefabricated houses are more environmentally friendly. Both for their construction materials and for the place where they will be installed, construction time is shorter and and pollution reduced.

What is the difference between prefabricated houses and a modular houses?

Post Covid cities are committed to a future where there is less pollution and a better quality of life. For this reason, housing must be transformed towards this model.

The new homes of the future will play a leading role in our lives as they will make them much easier. Intelligent, efficient and sustainable housing already exists and the prefabricated or modular housing are a clear example of this.

The main difference between a prefab house and a modular house is that the last one is made up of modules that have their own structural enclosures, which allows different modules to be joined together, inserting one next to the other, thus building the different spaces of a residence. 

A modular house, being built in parts, requires a more laborious final assembly at the location than a prefabricated house. And, in addition to the installation, the construction materials are also usually different between a modular home and a prefabricated one. 

Another of the most characteristic differences concerns the quality controls that modular homes must pass. They are much stricter compared to prefabricated homes. In fact, the legal regulations for modular homes are the same as for traditional homes. At the end, they comply with the same building codes and regulations.

Impressive prefabricated house projects around the world

Now that you know that the future of housing will be prefab homes, it’s time for you to succumb to their minimalism and sustainability through some of the best prefab projects in the world.

  1. Overlooking Lake Manitou in Ivry-sur-le-Lac, Québec

Canadian architect Richard Rubin of Figurr Architects Collective, designed this modular house. It is composed of five factory-built modules, before being shipped to their destination. 

The architect’s main vision was to create a home for its owners with an extremely low environmental footprint by using local and sustainable materials. In addition, the prefabricated house has large windows that capture enough sunlight to help reduce heating and lighting costs. 

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  1. Sol Duc Cabin in Olympic Peninsula, Washington, U.S.A
Image by olsonkundig

This project is a 32 m2 refuge house, carried out by Olson Kundig Architects. Interestingly, it was completely prefabricated off-site. The hut is elevated on stilts and overlooks the Sol Duc River and its tropical rainforest. 

It was decided to elevate it off the ground to protect it from the humidity of the location and also to the occasional flooding they have. In addition, this minimizes the environmental impact on the land.

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  1. Tropical House in Costa Rica
Image by dwell

This prefabricated house is located in Ojochal, Costa Rica, near a large tropical rainforest. The project was carried out by A-01 (A Company / A Foundation) who designed a prefabricated house under a passivhaus system. That system provides energy efficiency thanks to the insulation materials with which the house has been manufactured. 

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  1. DHL House: Taiwan’s most peaceful home
Image by archdaily

A project carried out by Spanish architect Urdaneta Zeberio for a retired family who wanted to retreat from the noise of the city to live more quietly. 

This prefabricated housing project located in the countryside of Nanzhuang, Taiwan, had a limited budget which has been made the most of. 

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