On a New York island accessible only by 45-minute ferry from Connecticut, building a prefab retreat required brokering a deal with a ferry operator. Getting concrete mixers on and off the island by boat was virtually out of the question, so the architects specified a prefabricated foundation and arranged to put the slabs on the ferry with the help of the general contractor. The ferry operator confirmed that the boats could accommodate the 16-foot-wide modules that comply with federal shipping regulations, as long as the modules were arranged two abreast and delivered before Memorial Day weekend.
Located approximately 800 feet from the nearest road, this modest New Zeland bach—or beach house—sits atop a thicketed cliff that falls sharply into Hekerua Bay. “The site has no access other than a hair-raisingly steep paper road,” says architect Cecile Bonnifait, using a Kiwi term for a makeshift car route. This meant nearly all materials would have to be brought in one at a time, by hand—or helicopter.
Off the coast of British Columbia—on a site accessible only by boat—a family of Vancouver urbanites commissioned a sustainable cabin for weekend getaways that feels a world away. The architects designed every gesture of the home as a complement to the landscape, including the slot windows that frame views of the surrounding foliage and the walkway that follows the bedrock of the cliff.
To build a home on a remote plot of land in Washington State accessible by ferry from Seattle, former Angelenos Amy Staupe and Christopher Roy commissioned Method Homes to construct a highly personalized prefab structure. "For us, the primary driver for us to move from Los Angeles and abandon our urban existence was our love of the property," Staupe says.
Located on a remote island 62 miles from the coast of Auckland and off the electricity grid, this low-key bach is designed around the rituals of communal food preparation, dining and sleeping, and to be occupied for short periods of time. “You don’t want to be opening and closing curtains all the time,” says architect Lance Herbst. “We wanted it to be the kind of house you can walk around in after your swim and have a high level of privacy.”