Jennifer Siegal has long been one of our favorite pioneers of prefab architecture. Always pushing the envelope, her Swellhouse has been a great archetype for discussions surrounding prefab design, construction, and the integration of green materials. This past December, her Office of Mobile Design completed construction of a new iteration of the Swellhouse at 334 Brooks in Venice, California, which was site-built, but stayed true to the prefab canon using an extensive modular grid system and Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s). The grid system and exposed steel columns created an open yet ordered live-work space, while the SIP’s enhanced thermal and acoustic insulation. The 3100 square foot home consists of two separate structures that bookend a courtyard and pool. The home’s interior boasts high ceilings with exposed i-beams, a radiant heating system, and Ipe wood decking.
While it’s easy to mentally oversimplify the prefab construction process, picturing a fully functional house built in a factory and literally plopped onto a site, there are various degrees of prefabrication which range from fully-manufactured residences to the prefabrication of components, panels, or modules. In this case, Office of Mobile Design prefabricated the SIP’s in a warehouse, delivered them to the site, and set them in place manually. + Office of Mobile Design + Interview with Jennifer Siegal