Prefab pioneer folds, now what?

Somewhere between dwell reaching the masses (again) with prefab and the conceptual “Edible House” by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (stacking prefab containers to take full advantage of vertical design, reduced footprint, embracing photosynthesis, thoughts of biomimicry), I’m stymied late, but better late than never, by the Christmas Eve, 2008 Boston Globe article that comes up in searches, Prefab pioneer folds,  describing the demise of dwell’s go-to prefab company Empyrean and their NextHouse for dwell.

I hadn’t myself made any direct association between prefab and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Very 2009! So it thrusts what felt  more like a cottage (literally) industry to me until now, into the light of today’s social, enviornmental and economic reality.

Joel Turkel’s challenge, as he writes in The future of prefab is an increasingly nonarchitectural problem , is that “real development for the industry 
will come from young designers who are able to approach the problem from a more globalized vantage point. This group is able to think in terms of complete front-to-back business models. They are aware 
of the needs and limits of manufacturing processes but also are versed in new technologies, entrepreneurial methods, how capital works, strategic partnerships, and the importance of marketing and branding. This group will not design buildings but rather solutions for distributed delivery methods like those promoted by Kent Larson at MIT, who is leading the way toward rationalized industry-wide changes to benefit us all, rather than just promoting an individual vision or aesthetic.”

So I ask, Prefab pioneer folds, now what? What better place to start a foray into nextgen prefab than here?


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