VIDEO: A Tour of Mark Baez’s Translucent M Cube Residence

by , 07/29/14

A few years ago, Inhabitat had a chance to catch up with M Design’s eco-prefab architect Mark Baez in lovely Venice, CA.  He gave us a personal tour of his M Cube home—a minimalist, modular, sustainable, and surprisingly affordable prefab residential development that he designed using his patented prefab modular building system. Designed based on traditional Japanese tatami and imperial units of measurement, M Cube may appear spartan at first glance, but proves deceptively comfortable once inside. The home is actually now up for sale, so if you’ve always dreamt of living in an elegant, minimalist cube, you may be in luck.

The building system is simple: Each steel-beamed shell is sheathed in a curtain wall system of insulated fiberglass panels framed in anodized aluminum. These panels can be opened like windows, allowing for natural ventilation and tons of light. One day, solar panels will be installed on the roof to provide the building’s energy (once issues related to height restrictions are resolved.) The stackable cube system can be built in 90 days (on a flat site) for approximately $100 per square foot, making M Cube one of the most reasonably priced prefabs currently available on the market. This particular building is located in Venice, California. Inside, featherweight fiberglass panels slide on tracks. These modern industrial versions of shoji screens can be used to carve up the interior space, forming bedrooms, alcoves, or open living space. The only spaces that are non-changeable are the bathrooms and kitchens. The bathrooms feature three sunken areas, with a sink in the central one, loo in another, and the tub and shower in the third. Despite being very raw and simple at first glance, M Cube’s industrial take on modern living does not lack warmth. The concrete floors are literally quite warm, and something about the space feels naturally comfortable, perhaps due to Baez’s strict formula for human scale and proportion. People seem to like living and working in the Cube, as evidenced by the fact that all the units get filled as soon as there’s a vacancy. These smart and sustainable prefabs would make great affordable housing units or college dorms as well, if people prove willing to think outside the box (while living inside one!). As mentioned, this Venice, CA location is currently on the market, but our guess is that it won’t be available for very long. + MDesigns + M Cube on Inhabitat + M Cube Property Listing; Realtor—Roman Bruno + Video Produced by Bob Warpehoski

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  1. Loyola's Paperless Libr... November 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    […] students with information while they relax in arm chairs facing the waterfront tides. Resembling a glass box posed between limestone bookends, the design was able to triumph over glare and ventilation issues. […]

  2. SPG December 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    This is obviously not a universally applicable design, but the concepts and they way they are applied are very interesting. Keep in mind that flexibility in use is a key to sustainability down the line as you won’t need to move or heavily remodel your home to fit changes in your life.
    A big question for me is how the cost compares to a traditional stick built home.

  3. enicholson December 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I don’t know why the previous posters are so angry, people (like me) live in Venice too.

    I just want to know how to move in…

  4. OH December 11, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I dont think this guy has ever been to a fiberglass production facility. Wood is a renewable resource

  5. jeanX December 11, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Get out of California.
    You could live outside in Venice.
    Show us sustainability where it gets really cold.

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