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The house is a product

25 November 2018

Architects are in active search for new business models. Perhaps the most common new business models tried are attempts to productise architectural services by inventing new and distinctive house type designs. Unfortunately, a well designed house alone does not make a product yet. In order to become a product, the design needs to be materialised. Usually handled by contractors this task is now also done by off-site manufacturers combined with onsite assembly teams. One way designers can productise their house types involves striking a deal with such a partner. There are plenty of such attempts; some more successful than others. A well-known example in this category is P.A.T.H. by Philippe Starck and Riko.

Another way is of getting the house built is to take care of manufacturing by oneself. A good example of a designer becoming a manufacturer is Facit Homes. Their design is highly customiseable and their product is the complete package of services for a custom home buyer. Part of the service is setting up a CNC workshop on-site – an interesting take on prefab construction. In contrast to on-site precision manufacturing, Bauman Lyons architects have adopted a modular approach in their prototype of Mass-Bespoke system.

While Facit’s product is still very much a service, there are other examples of more product-like houses. Below are some of these:

  1. hoUSe A house type designed by shedkm and used in Residential developments by Manchester-based Urban Splash has won a number of design awards. The terraced house type comes in 2-3 storey versions, offers several different layout configurations and interior material choices.

  1. Wikkelhouse An innovative lightweight design is produced sections of carefully wrapped cardboard layers. The fixed size and shape of the core structure allows stacking of different modules in various combinations and forming an elongated tubular shape.

  1. Avrame An A-frame solution that features 3 different types – Solo, Duo and Trio. Each type is configurable in our 3D house configurator.

  1. Kiss House A modern minimalistic design comes in 3 different sizes with 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms. The customer can choose from several layout options and can also configure exterior finishes.

  1. The Back Country Hut A modular house design is assembled of prefabricated kit of elements and comes in two different styles: the Backcountry and Frontcountry.

  1. Tube House The house is made of interlinked tubular modules. The shape and size of the tubes can be adjusted, taking into account the movement of the sun on the site. The interior finish is according to client’s needs and wishes.