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INTERVIEW: Jennifer Siegal of Office of Mobile Design

Posted By Inhabitat On June 3, 2011 @ 12:09 am In Architecture,Interviews,Prefab Housing,Video | 7 Comments

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We love the work of Jennifer Siegal’s Office of Mobile Design [1], and our very own Emily Pilloton had the opportunity to talk to her in person about green architecture and her prefab designs. One of her standout designs includes the ShowHouse [2], which serves as a great example of efficiently and effectively executed prefab construction combined with a seamless integration of green materials and technologies. Read on or watch the video of Emily’s interview with Jennifer ahead!

Jennifer Siegal: Green materials and sustainability, alternative energies… It’s just a natural reaction that I have to building and the way that a designer should be instinctively.

INHABITAT: What are some of the basic advantages and concepts surrounding pre-fab construction?

Jennifer Siegal: In a pre-fabricated building, everything is built in a really right environment, controlled, clean and efficient, so everything that is used gets recycled back into the buildings, whether it’s steel or whether it is a fabric.

We live in a much more transient environment. We communicate in a completely different way than we did 20 years ago, and our building should be responding to that same kind of light, exacting habits.

INHABITAT: A big critique of pre-fab housing is that it promises affordability, but often ends up in a luxury market, so how do you see pre-fab housing becoming more accessible?

Jennifer Siegal: My region is southern California, and a typical, single-family residence, architecturally designed home is $400.00, $500.00 a square foot. I can offer people half the cost of that, so I think it is an incredibly affordable deal. At the same time, there are steel buildings that are built to a higher standard. When earthquakes hit, they’re not gonna fall apart, and it’s a more precise methodology of building. It’s a better built home. It’s not kind of – you get more for your money, not less.

INHABITAT: Do you ever design pre-fab structures for non-desert climates?

Jennifer Siegal: Well, we are working in very tight, urban infills in Southern California; I mean, Venice, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, but I’m also working with kind of multi-family units, and also, out here in the desert, I’m doing my own development and kind of thinking about denser, tighter relationships. So I see the pre-fab work that we do as being applicable to any kind of environment.

I got started in this work, looking at pre-fabricated classrooms, so I sort of come full circle, and we are doing schools now, which is really exciting to me, but the same method for building can be applied to a yoga studio. It can be a commercial, mixed-use, residential and retail space. It’s really no different. It’s just the way in which the buildings get fabricated and brought to the site. In a lot of ways, it’s more affordable for developers because they’re also looking at a condensed timeframe, and for many developers, time is money, and that’s something we can offer.

+ Office of Mobile Design [1]


Article printed from Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building: http://inhabitat.com

URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/prefab-friday-interview-with-jennifer-siegal/

URLs in this post:

[1] Office of Mobile Design: http://www.designmobile.com/

[2] ShowHouse: http://inhabitat.com/2006/11/24/prefab-friday-jennifer-siegals-showhouse/

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