Sustainable design and prefabrication are two of our central obsessions here at Inhabitat. So when they come together in one sleek package, we take note. Lest you think we have been ignoring or overlooking innovative LA-based design firm Marmol Radziner, think again. We were just waiting for the right moment…and since Sarah got a chance to see the firm at CA Boom last week, we decided the right moment has finally arrived.
There are a lot of architecture firms jumping on the prefab bandwagon these days. Every architect we know has at least a couple renderings of a prefab housing design in their portfolio. In this glut of well-intentioned Maya renderings, what is so impressive about Marmol Radziner is that they physically make prefab work – outside of virtual reality. Not only have their prefabs been built, tested and sold – but they fulfill the original economic promise of prefabrication: high-quality, beautifully designed, well-constructed houses that are affordable to almost everyone. AND they are available for sale now – something that few other prefab designers can claim.
Marmol Radziner’s environmental responsibility takes many forms. The frames are all made out of recycled steel and are completely assembled in-factory with the buyer’s choice of eco-friendly finishes, details, and appliances, including FSC-certified wood floors and solar panels. The homes are not kits or panelized systems; the fully finished, factory-constructed house can be delivered and placed on your site in as little as 5 months from the time your order is placed. There are currently five floor plans available and each home can be configured on the MR website, with choices for everything from finishes to appliances to fixtures. Alternatively, you can commission a custom prefab by contacting one of the architects directly.
The principal, Leo Marmol, actually designed the original version of his prefab, called the “Desert House” for his wife. It was completed in Spring 2005 and is the prototype for Marmol Radziner Prefab. The Desert House employs four house modules and six deck modules, a plan chosen to suit the wide desert landscape. “The climate inspired us to create covered outdoor living areas, and we developed sunshade modules to provide solar protection.” If the architect was willing to live in it himself, you know the design has got to have a level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail that goes above and beyond your typical prefab design. (Interview on Fabprefab)