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Updated: 2017-05-24T18:02:01-04:00


5 cool prefab houses you can order right now


Prefabulous! From early-20th-century Sears Catalog Homes to housing experiments by French modernist Jean Prouvé, prefab construction—that is, assembling a structure from components produced off-site—has had a rich, long history. Today, architects and designers continue to explore how the concept can create cost-efficient and sustainable housing. Some of these efforts have produced prefab designs that are easy for anyone to configure, customize, and call their own. Without further ado, here are five of the most prefabulous homes you can claim for yourself right now. They come in all shapes and sizes and show just how sophisticated the prefab house has become. The estimated costs listed below are base prices for the primary structure, and do not include fees associated with land, site preparation, shipping, and other miscellaneous expenses involved in bringing the project to fruition. Want more? Here are our roundups of affordable, eco-friendly, and stormproof prefab homes, plus prefab backyard studios. Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated with the most recent information. Passive Houses by Ecocor EcoCor Size: 218 to 1,932 square feetCost: $140,000 to $502,000Key features: Air-tight passive house design with solar-optimized orientation and high performance windows, 11 models to choose from, variety of exterior finishes. [More info] Pre-fabricated Accessible Technology Home by Philippe Starck with Riko Riko Size: 1,855 to 4,530 square feetCost: Starting at $280 per square foot Key features: Customizable façades, roof types, finishes, fixtures, lighting options; can integrate photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, rainwater collection, and heat pumps. [More info] HOMB by Method Homes Method Homes Size: 900 to 3,100 square feetCost: $145 to $210 per square foot Key features: 100-square-foot triangular modules that can be configured and expanded upon, cedar finishes on the exterior, minimal or wood finishes on the interior. Vipp Shelter by Vipp Vipp Size: 592 square feetCost: $585,000Key features: The same steel processing seen in the brand's pricey trash cans; "plug and play" design comes furnished with Vipp furniture, lighting, tableware, towels, ceramics, shelves, lamp, soap dispenser, etc. [More info] Coodo 64 by Coodo Size: 720 square feetCost: Starting at $56,000 for a smaller model, Coodo 18, in Europe; U.S. prices coming this fall Key features: Open plan layout, glass wall, porch, built-in storage, passive house design, app-controlled lights and temperature. [More info] [...]

Old highway becomes public park with 24,000 plants in Seoul


Seoullo 7017 runs above Seoul Station A new urban garden has risen in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, where a 938-meter (3,077-feet) elevated highway first built in 1970 has been transformed into a “sky garden” featuring 24,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers. Designed by Rotterdam-based practice MVRDV, Seoullo 7017 is a 16-meter-tall steel-and-concrete former overpass that is now a plant village and public park. It is literally translated as “Towards Seoul,” and the park runs above Seoul Station, connecting Namdaemun Market with the neighborhoods of Malli-dong, Jungnim-dong, and Cheongpa-dong. Newly constructed bridges and stairs connect the highway with hotels, shops, and gardens. Seoullo 7017 is part of the capital city’s initiative to make the urban center, and especially the central station district, greener and more pedestrian-friendly. Approximately 50 families and 228 species and sub-species of plants are displayed in 645 cylindrical planters of varying sizes, whose bases glow blue at night. The sky garden is reminiscent of New York City’s High Line park, and is a well-executed example of a disused overpass (or underpass) that has found new life as a public space. In the future, the park will act as a nursery and produce plants for the surrounding districts. [...]

Midcentury showstopper with floating accordion roof asks $649K


It was built in 1965 and has largely been untouched since then With its seemingly floating accordion style roof, this 1965 beauty in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a real showstopper. Designed by Larry J. Rowsell, the three-bed-three-bath time capsule abounds with period details that feel just as relevant today. Light wood paneling and sections of glass alternate to form the facade, where brick detailing marks the entrance. These materials also make up the interiors, with a brick wall, beamed ceilings, and clerestory windows perched above the walls repeating throughout the home. All of these elements combine to create a space that’s bright, open, and airy, despite the dark palette of the woodwork of the ceiling beams, window treatments, and built-in furniture. In the kitchen, original glass-pebbled cabinetry work together with an updated counter and appliances and repeat in the bathrooms, which appear untouched—and could use a refresh. Still, their charming pink-and-white bathtub and shower tiling is worth preserving. Bedrooms also feature lengths of glass, wood paneling, and those glorious clerestory windows that let the sunshine pour in. A respectably sized backyard with small deck and brick and patio, and a carport round out the 2,828-square-foot residence. Located at 2738 East Pebble Glen Circle, it’s offered at $649,000. Courtesy of Mony Ty [...]

Home inspections: What they are and why you should get one


Skipping an inspection could cost you When Tori Easterling, a broker and real estate instructor, decided to purchase some investment property in Georgia, she faced fierce bidding challenges with cash investors. By the time she viewed the property and made a bid, her offer was denied. Determined to secure at least one of these properties, which were being offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Easterling cleverly devised a plan that included a due-diligence period that allowed her to back out of the deal. It also gave her leverage to compete with those voracious cash investors. Easterling figured that since she’s the expert, she’d bid on properties without ever setting eyes on them. Convinced she’d solved her dilemma; Easterling made an offer on six properties, got two acceptance offers, and narrowed down her decision to one after visually assessing the property. Armed with her HUD Property Condition Report (a document that discloses things wrong with the property), Easterling confidentially placed a contract without an inspection. The outcome: a $5,000 roof job, a $20,000 siding estimate, and a nearby quarry with regular drilling that may be damaging her home’s foundation. Before placing a contract on your dream home, here are a few things to know about home inspections—and why they’re so important. What is a home inspection? A home inspection is a visual, non-invasive inspection of a property. There are seven systems observed during the inspection, explains Scott Brown, owner of Brightside Home Inspections: the roof and attic, the basement and foundation, plumbing, HVAC, the interior living space, a home’s exterior, and the electrical system. Throughout this process, the inspector assesses the home’s safety, operation, and the condition of its various systems, without dismantling or tearing apart the property. For example, when inspecting a furnace, the inspector makes sure it’s not leaking carbon monoxide; it operates when turned on and off, and there’s no sign of rust or corrosion. A maintained furnace releases a blue flame, and a yellow flame indicates a problem. How much does an inspection cost? Chris Chirafisi, a licensed product manager for American Home Inspectors Training, says that the cost for an inspection varies depending on the region. On average, a home buyer can expect to pay between $350 and $385, he says. However, in urban areas or larger cities—even areas that have licensing requirements or regulation demands—the price is even higher. In New York or Los Angeles, for example, an inspection can cost upwards of $500. Easterling says that her clients pay about $600 because she advises them to have termite and radon testing done. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that causes lung cancer—and testing is the only way to be sure about exposure levels. What should you ask an inspector? Some states don’t have licensing requirements, which means anyone can put up a website, slap a sign on their truck, and open for business. Chirafisi says buyers should ask inspectors if they received professional training from a recognized home inspection school. According to Chirafisi, there are roughly thirty states that have some licensing or regulation requirement. However, in states where licensing isn’t a requirement, make sure your prospective home inspector is a member of an accredited organization like American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Buyers should ask inspectors if they received professional training from a recognized home inspection school. You also want to ensure that the inspector has experience; ask how many homes they’ve inspected. According to Brown, the home inspection company owner a full-time home inspector should, on average, be examining at least 250 homes a year. Brown adds that a lot of inspectors have backgrounds in engineering and often make excellent ho[...]

Paris to redesign three defunct metro stations



“Reinvent Paris” calls for proposals to develop 34 underground sites throughout the city

The city of Paris hopes to see some of its future development happen underground.

Reinvent Paris 2” is an international competition to develop 34 unused underground sites throughout the city that include tunnels, parking lots, a Renault garage, and subway stations as a way to rediscover the potential of Paris’s “basements.”

A call for proposals invites partners to imagine projects that are not only architectural, but also economic, cultural, and social that will address major challenges facing urban centers today.

While 16 stops on the Paris Metro system were shut down about 70 years ago, three of them—at Champ de Mars (7th arrondissement), Croix-Rouge (6th), and Saint-Martin (3rd)—will see the light of day once again. There have been talks in the past to transform a few of them into swimming pools, bars, or nightclubs, but they never came to be.

Deputy mayor of Paris Jean-Louis Missika hopes that architects and developers will use their imaginations to come up with innovative projects that reinterpret the existing infrastructure.

By bringing natural light and creating a new vertical relationship between the underground city and the open air city, the projects will open up a new dimension of town planning. Tunnels, unused stations, car parks, reservoirs are all infrastructures that deserve a second life. Changes in mobility and public space require a focus on all these spaces that can become destinations.

Proposals will be accepted through November, and the final selections will be announced a year later, in November 2018. Head here for more.

Via: The Guardian

Riding public transportation becomes an easier choice when cities provide better data


Changing behavior isn’t just about cost or convenience—the way we make transportation decisions is irrational In most places in the U.S., transit ridership has dipped in recent years, even as cities invest in massive expansions of their rail and bus systems. While transportation planners attempt to address the situation, one factor will make their jobs harder: Choosing or forgoing public transit isn't always a rational decision. That’s according a new report out today by Conduent (the former business process services arm of Xerox that split from the company earlier this year) which surveyed urban-dwelling transportation users in 23 cities across 15 countries, hoping to learn what makes people embrace public transit over other modes of travel. “Providing more choices in line with our personal situations is key to changing behavior,” says Don Hubicki, executive vice president at Conduent. “People primarily focus on their individual situation, factoring in speed, comfort and cost when determining how they’d like to travel.” But as the report shows, besides just offering options, cities need to provide incentives for modes that are better for the environment, their health, and fellow citizens, giving people good reasons to switch. Otherwise people will just stick with what they know. If you have better information, like knowing ahead of time about a delay on your driving route or seeing when your bus will arrive in real-time, you adjust your expectations. Just how irrational are humans when it comes to transit? When asked how they preferred to get around, people surveyed for the study overwhelmingly said they liked driving their own car, specifically citing benefits like comfort and reliability. But driving was also cited as the mode most likely to experience delays: 70 percent of respondents said driving made them late at least once a month—higher than any other mode of transit. In comparison, only 61 percent of regular bus riders said their mode made them late. So why do drivers believe they’re more delayed than bus riders? It’s because of situational thinking, the difference between our expectations and reality, says Scott Silence, chief innovation officer at Conduent. When you choose to drive you expect to have total control, but when you ride the bus you’ve factored in the potential for disruptions. The disparity between what you expect and what you experience is what ultimately causes stress and frustration. But if you have better information, like knowing ahead of time about a delay on your driving route or seeing when your bus will arrive in real-time, you adjust your expectations. “If there’s one big challenge for city planners today it’s removing that situational factor,” says Silence. “It’s the key to changing behavior and making people think more agnostically.” Conduent The Go LA app helps travelers plan routes based on their cost, convenience, and emissions. This idea is something that transit agencies have chased for decades as they’ve tried to convince riders to choose the mode that’s best for their particular trip, regardless of bias. But as the report illustrates, people cling to the mode they’re used to, even if they know another option might be better. And, apparently, even if they know their option is going to be frustrating! That doesn’t mean that transit agencies shouldn’t step it up, however. Seventy percent of people said they’d use transit more if it was faster, which is why so many cities are revamping their bus service in particular to add more frequency. But maybe it’s also more about presenting existing information in a way that helps manage expectations. Transit riders are more likely than drivers to use trip-planning tools, with 77 percent using apps to plan their journeys. This might make transit riders automatically feel happier and more relaxed about their commutes [...]

Curbed's guide to architectural tourism across the U.S.



Tours, parks, and buildings for architecturally-minded travelers to add to their itinerary

You can scan social media and admire great architecture and design from afar, but there's something to be said about seeing a great work in its natural environment. With summer travel season about to start, there's plenty of time to get site-specific with pilgrimages to architectural masterpieces, or make time for urban innovations during your next long weekend out of town. We've assembled a list of some of the best tours, sites and buildings for architecturally-minded travelers to add to their itinerary, including new openings of note.

Pallet furniture: 34 cool examples you can DIY


Boring, cheap wood gets new life as furniture There’s much to love about upcycled furniture: You can save money, keep items out of landfills, and add some personal style. But one person’s recycled armchair on Pinterest might be another’s DIY disaster. Pallets—the wooden platforms used in warehouses and factories to store or move materials—offer a solution. Usually made of rough, undressed wood and measuring 4 by 4 feet, pallets are so ubiquitous that you can usually get them for free from old warehouses and shipping areas. That means that even when you make a mistake, you’ll have plenty of material to try again. You can turn pallets into just about anything, and their appeal comes in part because you don’t need an apprenticeship in woodworking to make something beautiful. It’s important, however, to know a bit about the pallets you are using. Pallets can be exposed to things like harsh chemicals, mold, or bugs, so it’s best to clean them up and figure out their origin before you begin any project. Newer pallets require a logo that says how they were treated, and most pallets are reused within specific industries. The best—and safest—pallets come from dry goods industries, so that’s a good place to start. Head over here for a comprehensive look at how to tell if a pallet is safe for reuse. Once you have your pallets, the sky’s the limit. We turned to Instagram to round up 34 innovative examples of pallet furniture—for all parts of your home—to get you started. A post shared by (@paletosbcn) on May 19, 2017 at 10:09am PDT Heck, you could host a 50-person party with this pallet furniture set. [...]

Midcentury modern home with “scotch and music” room and indoor fountain asks $199K


John Randal McDonald designed the home in 1953 Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We'd love to see what you've got. Location: Racine, Wisconsin Price: $199,900 “This is a natural house for natural people in which to be natural,” said architect John Randal McDonald, who designed this house in 1953 for his expanding family, after they outgrew the first McDonald residence that he built in 1949. Located in Racine, Wisconsin, the three-bedroom has two bathrooms and measures 2,600 square feet over three stacked levels to create a dynamic home that surprises at every turn. Expertly incorporating midcentury modern design elements like a broad, sloping roof, large windows, open living spaces, built-in furniture, and a mix of materials like mahogany, limestone, and glass, the dwelling was constructed within a “mature neighborhood” and was still able to hold its own as an example of modern design: “I designed it as a challenge to prove that a home like this can be built in a settled neighborhood, still being adapted to modern American life,” McDonald said. The top floor—which is considered the ground floor—marks the main entrance, and also contains two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a balcony, which McDonald used as a study or a reception room to meet clients. Five steps down from here leads to the mid-level comprising a great room with a large limestone hearth, whose stone details extend throughout the room, a water feature, and glass expanses. On the other side of the fireplace stack are the kitchen—updated with stainless steel appliances but whose woodwork appears to be original, and a small dining area. Five more steps below this level are a “scotch and music” room, utility room, laundry, workshop, storage, bathroom, and a family room. Located at 1001 Russet Street, it’s offered at $199,900. Have a look. Courtesy of Laura and Kim Seiler [...]

Off-grid modern house is a ring-shaped forest escape



The Spanish home is a loop consisting almost entirely of outdoor patio space

This is what happens when you let architects run wild. Years ago, French developer Christian Bourdais enlisted a handful of architects to each design a vacation home on a plot in the Spanish forest. The rules were simple: Create whatever you want within a set budget. And the ideas are weird. The first of these Solo Houses was finished in 2013, but now a second, ring-shaped abode has been completed.

Designed by Belgian firm Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, the circular home measures 150 feet in diameter and rests atop an atmospheric plateau. "Since the scenery is so impressive, we felt architecture should be invisible, merely emphasizing the natural qualities of the surroundings," the architects told Dezeen.


A metal mesh screen slides along the outer edge of the structure, providing sun protection and privacy. When opened, the rooms are fully connected to nature. The enclosed rooms—a living room, master bedroom, and guest room—make up less than 650 square feet of the building’s 17,220-square-foot footprint. The rest is largely outdoor patio space, of course.

The vacation home is also completely off-grid, powered by solar panels and storing on-site water in rooftop tanks.


Via: Dezeen