Back to Basics: Pragmatic Prefab for a Little Greener Living


What do you really want out of a home? How much space do you actually need? And what does the micro-crisis of underwater mortgages mean for the notions we have about our ideal dwellings? These kinds of questions were addressed from foundation to finish in this project, drawing on fundamentals of sustainable design without compromising essentials or sacrificing core luxuries.

The E.D.G.E. (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment) by?? stripped away associations, fads, trends and styles, starting over with basic questions of function before tackling form. It shows how an idea is only part of the equation – execution is all-important.

First, the footprint is a mere 340 square feet, set on a simple concrete foundation. Second, modular boxes make up each piece of the whole, from two end-of-unit sub-structures housing mechanical systems, including a kitchen in one and bathroom in the other, to space-specific furniture.

Third, the entire system is easily assembled and disassembled, pre-constructed in parking lot before being de-constructed and shipped to the fair site for display. Fourth, transforming furniture makes the main space into a layout-flexible area for living, dining and gathering.

Finally, a series of rainwater-collection and solar-generation strategies are augmented by thermally-insulated doors and windows and a sun-friendly orientation. But the beauty is not in any one of these moves, all familiar to many green home designs, but the frill-free application in a logical, piece-by-piece manner that still looks comfortable and sits well in the landscape.

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