As sustainability becomes a greater concern across all fields, advances in materials technology and design mean aesthetics are no longer sacrificed for a reduced carbon footprint. Just in time for Earth Day, "Prefabulous World" by Sheri Koones illustrates the stunning architectural capability of prefabricated materials in homes around the world. The book seeks to both educate on green building and also dispel the idea that utilizing prefabricated building materials makes for an uninspired, drab home.
The ecological benefits of using prefabricated building materials are wide-reaching. With reductions in fuel usage and construction waste and improved energy efficiency, from a green building perspective, prefabrication (along with repurposing existing materials like shipping containers) is the route to the most minimal impact on the environment. Prefabrication encompasses a range of materials, building methods and of course home aesthetics. Perhaps the book's greatest value is Koones' ability to touch on the wide range of styles around the world—from the popular American modular method to the abundant use of shipping containers in Denmark due to the proximity of the maritime transport industry.
Organized geographically, each entry contains detailed information about the house's construction process, floor-plan and efficiency system. Bearing in mind that making use of surrounding renewable resources is a key tenet to a green build, each house comes with a unique set of solutions to enhance efficiency. From maximizing solar energy to ultra-efficient, off-the-grid water heaters, the book is full of inspiration for green design solutions and presents many instances of green urban development. For example, the Archway Studios house makes use of abandoned industrial space—known as brownfield development. Hazardous waste and pollutants are cleaned up prior to constructions and existing structures are worked into the new property—in this case with a transformative, beautiful result.
With 300 pages of color photos, plans and useful insights from architects and sustainability experts around the world, "Prefabulous World" is available today, 22 April 2014, from Amazon for $25.
Photos by Hans Aschim