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100K House Enters Re:Vision’s Re:Construct Competition

by Chad Ludeman on August 20, 2008 · 14 comments

in media mentions,Press and News

Last week one of our favorite green bloggers, Preston of Jetson Green, challenged his readers to join and win the Re:Construct contest being put on by Re:Vision. Late last week we decided to take Preston up on his challenge and threw in the $25 for the entry fee not really knowing too much about the competition.

After a bit of research I have learned a bit more about this competition and the group putting it on. Re:Vision seems to basically be a group of people looking to make a difference in urban areas by reinventing the way that a city block is developed with cutting edge and innovative sustainable products and techniques. They are searching for the right city and the right block to carry out their mission. In the meantime they are putting together innovative ideas for free by holding five different competitions. This is a method of idea generation I can get behind. In fact, we are even paying them to use our ideas. Dang. Anyways, here are the five competitions they are holding currently:

  1. Re:Volt – Intelligent energyies for the urban development
  2. Re:Route – New thinking on urban transporation
  3. Re:Store – Green innovation for a healthy urban economy
  4. Re:Connect – Urban planning for people and places
  5. Re:Construct – Sustainable materials and building practices

The Re:Construct competition is the last one in the series to be held and results for the other competitions have been released already. From the website, the basic goal of Re:Construct is to create new types of structures and techniques. From planning codes to toilest, dry wall to moveable walls they want our help in re-imagining the building industry. “It’s time to Re:Construct the ideas and realities of sustainable building.” Stay tuned for more on our entry. I’m thinking our theme or tagline is going to be something like, “Prefab is NOT the answer.” Discuss.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 2 trackbacks }

To-Do List for the Next Few Weeks |
September 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm
Guest Post on Jetson Green and Re:Construct Competition Entry |
September 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rob August 20, 2008 at 1:01 pm

So if “Prefab is NOT the answer”, then what is? :) Or at the very least what is this project proposing as an answer? :)

2 Kevin D August 21, 2008 at 6:40 pm


Chad’s on vacation and encouraged us to “talk amongst ourselves”, so I’ll take a stab at it.

I haven’t seen anything as far as a bid from a prefab manufacturer, but very few of them would consider SIPS.

Also, this home design saves a lot of money by going slab on grade. Modular units need both a floor and a ceiling on every unit, so you’d have to pay for a floor and flooring that you don’t need.

PreFab isn’t playing out YET how so many of us have been hoping, but stay tuned.

3 Rob August 22, 2008 at 3:18 pm


I completely agree that prefab has not turned out to be all it was cracked up to. It does still offer some benefits though, like speed of construction (because of congruent building assemblies construction) and repeatability of modules or whole buildings.

That said I think the better answer lies somewhere between prefab and standard construction. I really like the ideas that KieranTimberlake are proposing with their Cellophane House at the MOMA prefab exhibition. The idea of preassemby or off site assembly (like the SIP’s on the 100k house). It seems to make more sense to me, to construct assemblies, and then connect them together on site, rather than modules or sections of building.

4 Kevin D August 25, 2008 at 5:06 am

KieranTimberlake is definitely trying to learn from the manufacturing sector. The two biggest opportunities are in “mass customization” and BIM.

Factory built homes have REAL potential savings, and that’s why they are so intriguing. Check out this home which retails for $36/ft2.

5 Rob August 25, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Absolutely, mass custom and BIM.

That other house however, is another story. Financial “savings” it may have, however by the look of the brochure I doubt it is at all aesthetically pleasing and I would question even the basic quality at that price.

The general problem with factory built housing is that it has always looked or actually been of cheap quality with very little visual appeal (think standard double wide). When architects or other designers have tried to make prefab housing it always cost an arm and 3 legs. And this is perhaps where the 100k house is most successful in that it proposes to take a reasonable budget and build a modern house and make it as sustainable as possible in the process. But I digress, this is no longer on topic of the reconstruct theme.

6 Rob August 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Trying to get back on the re:construct theme…

Could we look at the 100k house as a collection of pre constructed pieces (a kit of mass customizable parts)? The sips, the stair construction (more on this later), the cabinets and appliances, the few walls (prebuilt of course, just drop in place! :) ), the exterior windows and exterior doors, metal panels, the fixtures, closet constructions…anything else?

More on the stairs…Are they still being thought of as the plywood box stairs that were referenced earlier? Could this be preassemblied (and maybe prefinished?) and set in place when the SIPS are set (same crane)? Or it could be a kit of parts assembled on site (10 treads, 10 risers, 2 stringer/walls and a partirdge in a pear tree?)

7 Kevin D August 25, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Speaking of stairs, I think spiral stairs should be an option worth looking at.

Lots of space to be saved, but they severely limit what you can carry upstairs (like a bed)

8 Rob August 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Yeh, no spiral stairs. Just no, not funcational, not aesthetically pleasing, not fun to walk up, notin. Just not good stairs. And then there is the whole trying to carry anything up a spiral stair…and that just does not work either.

9 Ryan August 26, 2008 at 12:50 pm

To add to your discussion on a house consisting of a kit of parts, below is a link to a competition entry which proposes just that, with the same parts combining to form different house typologies.

This could be the next stage of development for the 100k house brand.


10 chad August 27, 2008 at 2:29 am

Great comments folks. You are definitely on the right track as far as my thoughts are concerned. Another point I hope to make with our argument is the local factor. Prefab is made in a remote location by remote companies with remote labor and then shipped hundreds of miles to the site where it is often installed by a non-local crew. Where is the benefit for the local labor force and subsequently the local economy?

Also, it’s more expensive, poorer quality and more wasteful than our concepts. At least I think. More research is needed…

11 Kevin D August 27, 2008 at 3:08 am

Well, Chad, apparently you don’t yet have your copy of the groundbreaking book, “How to Build an Inner City Housing Plant” by the Automated Builders Consortium (primarily a podium for cranky geezer Don O. Carlson)
It can be yours now for the low low price of $25 (sorry, no CD-rom version)

12 Rob August 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Good points about local interests, a very huge issue. Although not always true. The company I work for has built a partially prefab school in Reading, PA. The prefab bits came from Ephrata, PA, about 30 minutes away. But this is probably the exception not the rule.

So Chad, are you thinking Build it Green constructs the parts for the 100k house, in philly, then ships the pieces(5-10 miles?) to the site for assembly? What about the SIP’s? Where are they manufactured?

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