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GREEN GUIDE TO PREFAB: How to Make the Most of Your Time When Building a New Home
Inhabitat’s Green Guide to Prefab series has explored all the elements involved in planning and realizing a modern prefab home – we’ve taken a look at the history of the various “branches” of the American prefab industry and how they have evolved, and we’ve discussed how to maximize building site, local climate, lifestyle goals and budget into a design can make a break or a dream home. In our final article in the Green Guide to Prefab editorial series, we will discuss something that innovative systems builders have recognized and have begun to address in far greater measure than providers of more traditional home building services: time. With our busy lives how can we make the most of what limited time we have to effectively to plan for and build a home that meets our needs? As you read ahead, consider the question: Is time a renewable resource?
For almost forty years I have spent a considerable portion of my professional time speaking with consumers who are planning new homes. I can tell you with certainty that today’s Gen X consumers have no time to spare, and even less time to plan compared to their predecessors. Many have completed their formal educations at later ages, and others have formed partnerships and started families at much later ages just as their careers are in full bloom. In many families, both parents are employed or there is only one parent. In the 70’s, children often walked to school, while today they need to be driven every which way and back, keeping a full schedule of afternoon and evening activities and social events. Adults meanwhile devote non-work, non-family time to community work and philanthropy. In addition to caring for children, they have become responsible in increasing numbers for the care of their aging parents.
With that said, spending countless hours in meetings for over a year to plan a home is not compatible with the Gen-X lifestyle, nor is the notion of investing tens of thousands of dollars in professional fees before knowing what a house will cost. The time required to make thousands of decisions before construction commences is not available, so a passion for excellent design comes matched by a need to find it pre-packaged and ready to personalize — I hear this everyday from aspiring modern homeowners loud and clear. Time is not a renewable resource. Our lifestyles require that we prioritize and budget time carefully, and this is certainly the case when we even consider building a new home.
Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture Taliesin West for Lindal
Budgeting time is where the leading prefab producers excel, offering excellent and innovative architecture, ready to be genuinely personalized inside and out, through a disciplined and efficient process in which the number of decisions is reduced but not restricted. They are custom houses for certain, but more specifically, these are custom houses planned during a manageable number of meetings through a predictable process that provides reliable cost information from the start. This critical factor is different from the objective of saving drafting time, production and construction time in order to reduce cost. This is the demand to fulfill the dream, enabling true personalization, while reducing the commitment of clients’ time.
Innovative young architects and renowned firms are teaming up with prefab producers in order to reach time constrained Gen-x consumers and increase their reach and broaden their client base. Today, extraordinary design is available to consumers everywhere through leading prefab producers and upstart producers. The emphasis on efficiency provides consumers top tier architectural options to personalize and build for substantially less, both in time and money, as compared to a traditional architect’s work process.
Modfab for Lindal
Lindal Cedar Homes’ Portfolio of Modern System Built Homes by Leading Architects
Lindal Cedar Homes, a leading producer of post and beam homes for nearly seventy years, is one example of a systems builder that has recognized the changing design sensibilities of consumers, along with their need for predictability, efficiency, and personalized service. Lindal has proven that the cost of building modern prefab does not have to sacrifice personalization to succeed.
The company has applied its vast experience to create the industry’s largest portfolio of modern designs: The Lindal Architects Collaborative. The collaborative is made up of a group of renowned regional American and Canadian architects, each with a fresh and distinctive architectural signature, a love of natural materials, and extensive sustainable design experience. These professionals have worked with Lindal design professionals to create over thirty post and beam designs. The disciplined use of Lindal’s refined post and beam system controls cost without reducing quality, and it provides a framework for extensive personalization of the designs to reflect each client’s lifestyle. These flexible designs also respond to each site’s natural characteristics to remain energy efficient and adaptable to any climate. The system enables a planning process that reduces risk, provides immediate pricing, and respects Gen X consumers’ time constraints.
Marmol Radziner for Lindal
A network of over 100 North American dealers provide personalized service, manage the eco-siting and design process, facilitate local regulatory compliance, builder bidding and selection, and serve as resources during construction. Their role is an essential response to the growing complexity of home planning, the expertise required to navigate that complexity, and consumers’ need to maintain their already overcommitted schedules.
The participating architecture firms’ Lindal designs, images of which accompany this posting, are now available worldwide and the resource efficient process and product gives consumers access to their highly regarded work at considerable savings.
“The Lindal Architects Collaborative will enable a new and broader segment of customers to experience our designs. The Lindal building system gives the customer the flexibility to adapt a house to their needs, while maintaining the integrity of our designs. The sixty-seven year old structural system also easily allows us to implement the indoor-outdoor living connection our two traditions share.”
Bates Masi for Lindal
The Lindal Architects Collaborative currently includes six firms and continues to grow as new firms are selected:
- Altus Architecture, Toronto, Ontario
- Bates Masi + Architects, Sag Harbor, New York
- Carney Logan Burke Architects, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- David Vandervort Architects, Seattle, Washington
- The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin
- Marmol Radziner, Los Angeles, California
Architects of modern design and prefab housing producers share a common mission: to provide consumers innovative and resource efficient living environments that respond to time and place. Today, there is no better source of great home design than the burgeoning collaborations between the visionary creators and the innovative producers.
Lindal Cedar Homes is the world’s largest provider of quality custom cedar homes. Founded in 1945, there are more than 50,000 Lindal cedar homes—and satisfied homeowners—worldwide. Known around the world for their signature post and beam building system, quality building materials and detailed craftsmanship, their experienced Lindal Cedar Homes dealers will help you each step of the way.
Michael Harris is a MIT graduate with two degrees in architecture. Michael has made it his professional mission to innovate system-built design and the planning process to ensure fulfilling client experiences. Michael spent 31 years at Deck House Inc. working with clients, designing new products, innovating client-centric sales process and marketing, and was involved in the acquisition of a competing brand (Acorn Structures). He led the company as CEO and served on its Board of Directors for 15 years. In 2006, Michael joined Lindal Cedar Homes, working with executives, staff and dealers to build a new strategic plan, then implementing the plan as President and CEO. Today he works as an independent consultant and dealer (testing the efficacy of the plan by” walking the talk”).
While at Lindal, he led the company’s entry into the modern market; forged a collaboration with Dwell Media initiating Lindal’s participation in the Dwell Homes Collection; and created the Lindal Elements program, a new line of on-system designs and process he designed with the company’s creative staff. He brought the iconic industry player to become the first “Green Approved” building system by the NAHB Research Center and the only single family home included in TIME Magazine’s Green Design 100 in 2010.
In addition to selling and consulting, he serves on the Board of Advisors of Blu Homes, writes on the subject of manufactured housing, and enjoys life with his wife Carol, splitting their time between Seattle and their family’s home base in New York City.
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