PREFAB FRIDAY: Unpacking the prefabs at MOMA!

by , 08/08/08

For those of us not fortunate enough to attend the MOMA‘s recent Home Delivery exhibition, Scribe Media has assembled an excellent video that takes an in-depth look at five of today’s cutting-edge prefabs. Chock full of interviews with architects and led by Chief Curator of Architecture & Design Barry Bergdoll, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in a current survey of the potential of prefabricated housing.

+ Home Delivery @ the MOMA


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  1. gregb August 9, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I had a chance to visit the show last week. Many of the historical attempts at prefab or industrial manufacturing were remarkably prescient as well as truly elegant.

    But I found the \”Home Delivery\” section to be a great disappointment. Sure, there is an occasional wry gesture or inventive joint. But they were stupefyingly unpractical. For example, the New Orleans house (e.g. insert Tab A into Slot B) is penetrated by thousands of slots- all of which have to be sealed against air and water infiltration, and the resulting wall cavity would be difficult to insulate.

    The Cellophane House was the most inventive and fully realized, but again the transparent walls had little or no “R” value, and the metal scaffolding thermally bridge the exterior to the interior- which would cause icing or condensation in winter or summer.

    Is this important? Well, by coincidence there is also a Bucky Fuller exhibit in town at the Whitney. Which raises the question, why don’t we all live in geodesic efficient domes? Stuart Brand ( of “Whole Earth Catalog” and “How Buildings Learn” fame) provides the answer- despite initial enthusiasm, the geodesic dome with its oddly shaped panels created enormous amounts of scrap, was difficult to seal along all of its numerous edges, echoed like train station, and was labor intensive to assemble. One might argue with sufficient effort and automation, each flaw could be inverted into a virtue. But there are too many alternatives to bother.

    House are meant to be lived in, and for most people, at an affordable price. “Home Delivery” will turn out to be home alone.

  2. theokobox August 8, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    That house looks just like New Orleans!!! Almost makes me home sick for the beauty there – no city has ever compared.

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