We just can’t get enough of Andrew Maynard, so we thought we’d say a few more words about him for our Prefab Friday roundup. In the diverse collection of projects in Maynard’s portfolio, we get a picture of an architect whose ideals run as deeply as his talent for good design. His protest treehouses emerged as a direct action in defense of the Tasmanian forest; his unfolding homes spoke even more strongly for sustainability, underscoring the importance of considering time in design. Rounding out the portrait of a visionary designer, Maynard’s prefabs embody not only sustainability, but affordability.
His thoughtful prefab designs garnered an accolade from the VicUrban affordable housing competition, and have since been spurred into production, with pre-orders now available online. Maynard believes that the only way the housing industry can achieve exciting, well-designed, and affordable homes for the masses will be to imitate the mass-production techniques of the car industry – an idea that makes a lot of sense…
According to Andrew Maynard:
If the car industry functioned as the building industry does we would have roads full of very different vehicles. All cars would be built simplistically and crudely at a very high price and would be affordable to few…[home building] tactics such as automated production lines and prefabrication will reduce cost, produce more interesting material usage and will greatly reduce wastage.
One of the most promising aspects of Maynard’s prefab design is the modular “snap-on” system of the components, which allows an infinetely adaptable and expandable building:
[from Maynard's site]:
The computer industry is the catalyst for this adaptable modular house. Like the common computer, a basic unit can be purchased allowing further growth, adaptability and investment at a later date. The basic [and most affordable] form of the house would be a single bedroom home with bathroom kitchen and open/living modules. The user can add to this basic home other modules such as a carport or they can add on features such as sunshading, stairs or external decks. It is imagined that all of these elements would be available for the user to purchase as they would a keyboard or mouse for their computer.
Onsite work is minimised to the installation of a steel “train track” footing system allowing the prefabricated modules to simply be slid into place. The prefabricated module is based on a rigid galvanised steel frame with plasterboard internal finish and stained farmed pine external skin. The floor covering is armourply panel. This allows quick easy fixing and the 2400×1200 sheet size adds lateral bracing to the frame. The roof surface is a bituminous finish on a ply substrate. There are no gutters; the roof acts as a shallow gutter allowing the water to be delivered to one of two downpipes.
Adaptability / 2nd story
The prefabricated system allows adaptability in the planning of the house. The proprietor can alter the way their house is planned based on environment, orientation, social needs and privacy. Furthermore, the rigid steel frame construction system allows for a second storey to be easily added. Alternating between single storey and double storey allows estates to have a visual diversity based on a single modular form. The flat bituminous roof also allows rooves to easily become trafficable outdoor areas for second storey spaces.