New York City is probably the last place anyone would expect to find a one-story, prefabricated, shipping container home, but lo-and-behold one of these little gems currently sits at the corner of Charles and Washington Street in the West Village. Designed by architects Jason Halter and Christos Marcopoulous, the 320 square foot MEKA Home (pronounced 'make-ah') is an incredible architectural gesture able to capture luxurious, modern living within an undemanding and unexpected construction. Certainly attractive, durable and sustainably built - with more than 70% of its materials recycled - one of the most outstanding features is that one of these modules runs at just a mere $100 per square foot!
Founder, Michael de Jong came up the idea for the MEKA after years of building luxury homes in Belize, hiring Jason Halter and Christos Marcopoulous for the design. Michael states, “Many prospective homeowners want to avoid the hassle, wait time and hidden costs of traditional construction. No one wants to wait a year and then find out the price of materials and laborers have increased by a third or more. No one wants to deal with unreliable contractors or builders.”
Eco-friendly and extremely flexible, each shipping container is paneled in cedar wood over a steel frame shipping container, with doubled glazed argon-filled windows, a bamboo interior, slate bathroom, and 100% cedar cladding. The home works well in an array of different environments and one side of the module can be opened up to create a deck. Moreover, they can be effortlessly transported and the modular system allows for eased expansion in the event the inhabitant’s space needs to grow. Solar power integration is also available for those interested in off-grid living.
Arriving 95% built (quite amazingly), the home can be setup with all the appropriate installations in less than two weeks, pending the foundation. However, with the case at hand, the prefab was setup on-site in less than two days (without installations or foundation).
Selling at only $100 per sq foot, the MEKA aptly responds to the issue of cost versus pricing in the discussion of prefabricated home production. While prefabs are certainly cheaper to build than custom homes, for a number of producers/architects, to remain profitable, their pricing scheme still hovers in a range that remains out of reach for much of the public. Comparatively, MEKA modules can easily be tailored to fit any budget.
The West Village prefab was set up less than a week ago, where the architects and MEKA’s founder sought to test out the construction and see how the public would respond, and not surprisingly, the trio have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. During our own visit we eavesdropped on a few conversations where visitors were already dreaming up alternative uses – NYC rooftop playhouse or pop-up party spot, anyone? While this particular prefab has already been sold, it will remain at the Charles and Washington site for the next two weeks. So if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by.
Photos: © Diane Pham/Inhabitat