Jill Herbers. Collins Design, $39.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-06-058923-3
Who says dream houses are only for the rich? The ongoing revolution in prefabricated homes brings innovative, contemporary design to the masses, transforming""trailer trash to trailer chic,"" declares architectural writer Herbers. These diverse projects by 15 firms--from Michael Graves's Pavilions (designed for Target as freestanding structures or home additions) to Rocio Romero's LV Home building kit--are not only inexpensive, they're also sturdy, transportable, adaptable and, most revolutionary of all, purchasable online. Much of the secret to cutting costs is using readily available materials such as steel, glass and aluminum, and cutting the building process down to a few days. As a result, several bargain homes featured sell for well under $100,000 and can be assembled by the owner--like Romero's rustic Fish Camp House for $30,000, including furnishings, or Adam Kalkin's Quik Build House for $50,000. Glossy photographs highlight these sleek, functional spaces, and pages are enriched by detailed house plans and Herbers' anecdotal narration of their genesis. The blond wood floors and window-lined bookshelves in Oskar Leo Kaufman's signature SU-SI House, for example, were originally designed for his sister Suzy and offer a clean, minimalist feel along with plenty of light and storage. Herbers situates the projects within a brief history of modern prefab and muses on the future of the movement. Most important, she aims to make this architectural spectacle as functional as the designs it features by including a final section on""Constructing Prefab,"" with advice on new materials and processes, building guidelines and a list of material sources. Like prefab modern itself, this book successfully combines both style and practicality. 100 color photographs.
Reviewed on: 06/01/2004