June 23, 2009

housing solutions??

The closing of Kaufmann Design, for many has signalled the end of pre-fabs primordial return. Prefab had returned to the pages of flashy architectural journals as the fix to both the global demand for housing - affordable or otherwise, as well a means to green the way we construct our houses by reducing waste, and a host of extras that could be added - solar panels, grey water systems, etc. But perhaps others took it a bit too far - a recent entry of a pre-fab house by Daniel Libeskind puts into disrepute the eco-credibility of many prefabricated houses whilst mocking his endeared portfolio.
Many argue that a business model geared towards those financially equipped to afford a free standing single family residence on a self-owned property, like the David Adjaye designed Ed's Shed, was at the core of the demise. Added that single family houses generally run counter to the eco-practice in favour of density. The pre-fabricated house ran the course of most toys of the affluent, now being put down to rest.

In Jamaica prefabricated or prefab is often interchangeable with the term pre-cast since much of the work is typically made from pre-cast concrete. Added it is also synonymous with large housing estates built for low-income families. The use of pre-fab, has unfortunately been associated with poor quality, a stigma due mostly to its cost-effectiveness than it's performance.
Manley Meadows, Jamaica
However in these two opposing markets, of differing construction the solution may conceivably lie. The parting prize for Kaufmann and her cohorts may be the lessens shared with her neighbours from the Caribbean - providing a prefabricated housing solution that is economically built and simultaneously attractive to an upwardly mobile market. A task unachieved by precast. Furthermore the variety of options that make them uniquely customizable, caters nicely to the desire of the individual.


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