Gallery: High-Tech itHouse Prefab by Taalman Koch

living room of itHouse

We’ve been following LA-based Taalman Koch Architects and their development of a systematized method for building sustainable prefab houses for the past few years. Now, a completed itHouse has landed outside of Joshua Tree National Park in what is going to become a new planned community called Three Junipers. If you have been reading along with us, you would know that the house is off-grid and powered solely by photovoltaic and solar thermal technology. Not to mention, the modest home makes minimal disturbance to its site, has a small footprint (1,600 sq ft), and uses native plants in its landscaping. This high-desert version of the itHouse adds to their previous work with more efficient energy systems, and new furniture and accessories.

Much like other prefabs, this house is a made up of parts that are prefabricated off-site in order to minimize waste and maintain a high level of quality control over the finished product.

The house is primarily constructed of glass panels that fit into prefabricated aluminum frames, which create the effect of bringing nature indoors. Each room was specifically designed to have framed views and sun shading. Despite the transparency of the home’s exterior, its location in the high desert and the vast surroundings of rock and juniper trees will still afford the home privacy from the two other homes planned for the Three Junipers community.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house is totally off-grid, powered by both pv and solar thermal. Additionally the house uses passive heating and cooling, natural ventilation, radiant floor heating and energy efficient appliances and equipment. As there are very few walls to paint, it is naturally low VOC.

Comfortable living is integral in the design of the house. With an open floor plan, the itHouse capitalizes on the southern California climate with outdoor courtyards and living areas that maximize space. Additionally, elegant design elements like the Fireorb fireplace, Poliform chefs kitchen, and an outdoor solar-heated plunge pool add an eco luxurious feel. The landscaping uses native plants to create minimize impact on the surroundings and water consumption. The few trees removed for the building were also replanted nearby.

This completed home is meant to serve as a “model” for Taalman Koch’s system of building houses- and is making customizable designs available. The basic home begins at 1,100 sq ft for two bedrooms, one bath, and double courtyard. Houses are expected to start at around $750,000 a piece and can be custom built to specification. Design packages can include glass walls coated with privacy enhancing patterns, Bulthaup kitchen systems, specialty furnishings and decorations. The itHouse components are created off site, flat-packed and shipped to your building site.

+ Taalman Koch

+ itHouse

+ Three Junipers


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  1. The Revolution Corporation October 26, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Why would Inhabitat publish an article that speaks favorably of *anything* built adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park?

    “future-forward design for the world you inhabit” … I don’t think any of us out here see this as future forward design… And, I really hope that $682/SF was a typo.

  2. ansonm October 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I agree, almost $750 a square foot for a place that cannot keep a comfortable temp is ridiculous. Although the place looks good and has a comfortable connection to the natural setting around it it is simply not livable.

  3. fritter October 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    This house, like many others like it, is a massive failure. If you read the Dwell article on this same house, the owner/architects admit that the house gets “really hot” and “really cold”. In other words, it is not doing it’s job of keeping the occupants comfortable, protecting them from the environment (drastic temperature swings) and conserving energy.

    I personally am getting a little tired of seeing the promotion of these “ultra cool looking” glass houses that are somehow supposed to be green just because they use a pre-fab system. The lifetime energy consumption of the house is a larger factor!

    We are nearing completion of a straw bale house. and while not as “off the shelf” as these trendy system houses, it is already staying warm (during the night) and cool (during the day) with no mechanical systems help (and we haven’t even insulated the attic or installed garage entry doors yet!

    750K for an 1100 sq ft house that doesn’t work? A tent from Wal-mart is a better deal!

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