PREFAB FRIDAY: KT 1.5 from LivingHomes

by , 01/30/09

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Building Magazine, a leading resource for home building, joined up with LivingHomes to produce a modern prefab home designed by Kieran Timberlake, the 2008 AIA Firm of the Year. The result of this collaboration, called the KT 1.5, was recently debuted at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, where the home was installed on the showroom floor in 3 days. Including many sustainable design elements, the home has been designed to meet the LEED Platinum rating.

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The Builder LivingHome is a hybrid of modular and panelized construction, which LivingHomes says allows them to build faster, with less waste, and at a lower cost than stick frame construction. The modules are constructed from lightweight structural steel and engineered wood. The four modules that make up the home’s basic framework were constructed off-site and shipped to the Las Vegas convention hall. Upon arrival, the 4 modules were set into place via forklift and then the home was finished using pre-cut panels. Upon completion the home was a grand total of 2,466 sq ft and had 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

As part of the sustainable design, the Builder LivingHome was designed according to 6 sustainability goals, the Z6: Zero Water, Zero Energy, Zero Waste, Zero Emissions, Zero Carbon and Zero Ignorance. Although they haven’t achieved all these goals yet, they continue to strive towards them with each successive home — and with significant strides having reduced construction waste from 40% to 2-10% compared to a stick built home.

As to the particulars, energy-efficient appliances were provided by Whirpool/Kitchenaid, water-efficient fixtures come from Koehler, and high-performance windows with composite wood recycled frames were from Anderson. EcoClad, a new low-maintenance, recycled wood and bamboo siding, was provided by Klip Technologies. Additionally recycled glass tiles and countertops were used as well as low-VOC paint by Sherwin Williams. A focus was put on recycled materials, efficient appliances, indoor air quality, and high performance materials.

The home’s aesthetic is typical of new modern architecture with open living rooms and kitchens. Kieran Timberlake refers to this as Lifestyle-Driven Architecture and designed “for the conscientious consumers who drive Priuses, buy Ikea furniture, and who shop at Whole Foods and Patagonia.” This home constructed for the Builder’s Show is the KT 1.5, one of Kieran Timberlake’s homes designed for LivingHomes. The home is planned to be offered in 6 different expandable models, all starting at a base price of $185/sq foot and goes up to $250/sq foot. Like many prefab builders this does not take into account siting, foundation or transport costs.

LivingHomes projects that a completed KT 1.5 will cost around $300/sq foot. That rate reflects the home shown in Las Vegas — loaded with extras, but could be as low as $250/sq ft. Unfortunately, the Builder LivingHome is well out of most people’s price range, but hopefully costs will come down. LivingHomes’ main selling point is not price though — they contend they can produce a high performance home that creates minimal environmental impact in less than half the time.

+ Builder LivingHome

+ LivingHomes

+ Kieran Timberlake

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  1. Bruce Johnson January 31, 2009 at 11:30 am

    The model on the show floor at IBS was described by a representative from Living Homes to be able to be built as shown for less than $250,000 and another model for $150,000-$200,000 if being done in multiples as opposed to a one-off… that is if it did not have to be transported too far from their pre-fab factory in southern California. I expect that similar arrangements could be made by builders in other parts of the country with manufacturers in their area, so convince your builder to build several in your neighborhood of choice and the cost should come down.

  2. speedscu January 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    While I appreciate the design and use of a home like the K1.5. It doesn’t matter how forward thinking the home is, if people can not afford it. I’m getting tired of hearing how modular saves money, but yet come with a price tag in excess of 500,000 (plus land). Great for the environment, too bad nobody will buy it.

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