Environa studio

“Building a freestanding prefab home is, in a sense, building a green SUV: You’re greening up the wrong thing.” Sydney based architects Tone Wheller and Jan O’Connor of Environa Studio.

An article in this month’s Dwell, discussing the vocabulary of modern design, inspired by prefab assembly and by the legendarily balmy Australian climate.

We try to allow a certain amount of flexibility in our projects. You’re not using the same room in the same way 365 days of the year. The house is flexible enough that you can use one room in the evening and one in the morning—or you can adjust the spaces so that they’re used at different times of day and even different times of year. It goes down to the modernist tradition of furniture that’s light and easy to move. Sustainability needs to go beyond just materials and energy use; we need to start thinking about density, size, flexibility—fitting more things into smaller spaces. Everything would be small and compact—but everything would fold out at full size.

I’m really getting into modular use spaces, I first came across it at the Royal College of Art CRD studio, which would often change appearance based on the intended function or the evening’s activity. Doors on rails, screens (fabric and metal) swing into place and provide immediate privacy and flexibility to this adaptive studio space.

Architects Ray Kappe & Shigeru Ban

The folks over the LivingHomes, talking about the 46 week process for a prefab house:


Venturing into the process of bringing your dream LivingHome to life, you may wonder, “Will this is hard, complicated, a pain in my Eames-loving rear?” Correct answer: No, because we’ll be there to work with you and guide you through every step along the way. Unlike the frustrations often associated with building a traditional custom home, we’ve designed a process to ensure a comfortable, predictable experience, an experience in which we are partners — from personalizing architectural design to choosing your favourite fixtures.

The following sections discuss a step-by-step roadmap of the entire LivingHomes purchase process — from evaluating the suitability of the land you select to that moment when the finish crew has gone and it’s just you, your favourite chair, an expansive view, and the great sense of space that pervades your LivingHome.