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THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.

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Planning Ahead, Planning Well

The idea of prefab housing strikes fear in many an American heart.

Images of shoddily-made homes dance in our wee little heads. And maybe a few nightmares that we'll be trapped in a trailer from the 1960s forever.

We are thankfully mistaken. Prefab construction continues to evolve, emphasizing solid materials and good design.

Jens Risom's home still has a retro sensibility, but it is anything but musty. Risom, a Danish furniture designer, built his house in Maine in 1967 and it still stands (physically) as a testament to the prefab movement. Risom's home is a beautifully example that you don't need a lot of fuss to connect with the environment around you—sometimes just some planning.

It's like going out on a long hike: you need well-packed gear, but it does not have to be excessive. You need to know your route. You probably need rain protection. You won't perish without trail mix, but you will be able to hike with a lot more energy. And what would you do if you showed up to the trail without hiking boots? Hurt a lot, that's what. Or walk on your hands.

The intricate planning aspect of prefab housing provides opportunities for sustainable manufacturing, detailed building plans, and recycled materials abound. We can create sustainable design that connects a house to the outside in very intentional, specific, simple ways.

These are principles that can apply to all kinds of house construction, whether created on site or in a factory beforehand. Prefab just simplifies some of those steps and eases the process towards green. So if you are out there doing it by hand, power to you.

And if you're still wondering why you need to think about trail mix ahead of time...we should talk.

Wear your boots,

-KK

Photographs courtesy of LIFE. Interested in more of the technology behind prefab housing? Inhabitat is a great resource to start.

12/12/2011
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