Designed by San Antonio-based architecture firm Lake|Flato, the concept behind The Porch House is a set of 9 modules (or rooms) that can be arranged in different configurations and then linked by site-built "porch elements", such as breezeways, porches, overhangs, and carports.
Pre-fab housing has an environmental advantage because the modules are built in a controlled environment , which means less room for waste or sloppy construction (which can result in unwanted air and energy infiltration). Furthermore, the smaller units can be arranged on the site in a way that takes advantage of solar orientation and limits the impact on surrounding vegetation or other natural features.
The exterior material options (which include weathered metal, Hardi Board and cedar) represent choices that are durable and low-maintenance.
According to the company's website, other sustainable attributes include:
High efficiency mechanical systems, water saving features, natural ventilation systems with operable doors and windows, low embodied energy materials, healthy materials, daylighting, energy efficient LED lighting, and an overall "passive design" to the entire Porch House all work together to create a highly efficient house.
Most of all, I love the simple vernacular style of the units - they feel more like small cabins than something that was built in a factory and trucked in. Cozy yet modern, the various configurations allow for an energy-efficient and site-specific solution that costs less ($150-$225 per square foot) than a new custom home.
- Read More: Lake|Flato Porch House
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(Images: Lake|Flato Architects)