Island House by 2by4 Architects, The Netherlands
The one-room Island House leaves a small footprint at only 225 square feet. A slide-out side wall and parallel glass walls, which support a gabled roof and provide a lengthwise view of the island, open up the home to the countryside. The cabin inspired a series of modular prototypes that prospective clients can customize to create their own escape, no island necessary.
JustK Haus by Amunt, Germany
JustK house does zero-energy with unusual style. Amunt incorporated a geothermal heat exchanger and triple-glazed windows into the strict planning regulations, which dictated the pitched roof and narrow structure for the prefab structure, which houses a family of six.
Moinian and Meili Residence by Felix Oesch, Switzerland
This spare, concrete family home outside of Zurich took nine months to build using a prefabricated panel system developed by the German manufacturer Syspro that’s more commonly used for building cellars rather than entire houses.
Claesson Koivisto Rune for Arkitektus, Sweden
Multi-disciplinary Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune has designed two prefab homes, the first for kit-house manufacturer Arkitektus with an inside-out approach. “We design buildings from the inside out,” explains principal Eero Koivisto. “The exterior is more or less a product of the interior plans.”
Plus House by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Arkitekthus, Sweden
The Plus House—named for the perpendicular trajectories of light and air that pass through on the top and bottom floors—is one in a series of architect-designed homes commissioned by Arkitekthus, a development company founded five years ago with a pledge to improve the quality of prefab architecture. The company offers 12 models from four acclaimed Swedish architects: Thomas Sandell, Tham & Videgard Hansson, Gert Wingårdh, and Claesson Koivisto Rune.
Woody35 by Marianne Borge, Norway
Named Woody35 because of its size (35 square meters) and wooden structure, the main cabin can sleep six people, has a living room, kitchen and bathroom. It is all fitted neatly together under a heart pine-clad facade, which needs very little up-keep and is known for its strength and durability.
Mini House 2.0 by Jonas Wagell, Sweden
Wagell designed the roughly 160-square-foot modules, which are built in collaboration with Swedish manufacturer Sommarnöjen and delivered flat-packed.
Treehouse by Baumraum, Belgium
Andreas Wenning's firm Baumraum counts over 40 houses, sited in both rural and urban locales, in its portfolio. To reduce impact at this forested site, Baumraum prefabricated a treehouse and craned it atop 19 steel columns, arranging it so that the surrounding trees’ roots wouldn’t be harmed.
R.House by Rural Design Architects, Scotland
Rural Design's second built prefab was constructed on the scenic but remote Isle of Skye. In 2010, firm principal Alan Dickson and local builder James MacQueen came up with a small timber-frame prefab design called the R.House, which can be constructed quickly and tucked onto less expensive lots that don’t appeal to well-heeled holiday homeowners.
Prefab Shed by Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth, Finland
The Finnish designer collaborated with Helsinki-based Avanto Architects for two years to perfect the compact unit—now available for purchase from outdoor brand Kekkilä—which artfully merges shed and greenhouse into one wood-framed, gabled-roof, glass-walled structure.
P.A.T.H. by Philippe Starck with Riko, France/Poland
Starck's P.A.T.H. prototype—designed in tandem with the Slovenian prefab homebuilder Riko, and recently built for the first time at a test site in Montfort l’Amaury near Paris—is as ecologically sound as it is precisely engineered. “P.A.T.H. is a positive energy house, which produces 50% more energy than it consumes” says Starck. "The positive energy that isn’t consumed can return to the local electric grid.”