A house in the back yard

A house in the back yard

A new area of investigation and creative problem solving is a unique opportunity, so I am eager to share the partnership with LivingHomes launching this weekend at Summit LA18 and previewed at NearFuture. This new foray into prefabricated and modular dwelling design comes from a passion for sustainable and efficient living, a passion I share with LivingHomes CEO Steve Glenn, who has been building modern and LEED platinum prefabs for over 10 years.

In California, in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, there is a lack of urban stock and density which is an ongoing issue. A new law passed by governor Jerry Brown makes Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) a legal and encouraged option. This means that people are now able to have small and fully functional buildings in their backyards.

This first foray into prefabricated and efficient living is an opportunity to think systematically about buildings, rather than as a one-size-fits-all solution. Every backyard is different, and every homeowner has the need for different light, privacy and building program choices. With this in mind, our YB1 ADU provides fully configurable interior layouts, with overall size, exterior and interior materials, and even flat or pitched roof variants. The structural system of YB1 allows for a wide range of internal layouts. Based on a 4’ grid that is full height, the homeowner can pick full height windows, clearstory or rigid walls all around the building. This makes the design responsive to the light, privacy and cost needs in a very precise and customized fashion.

Constructed in LivingHomes’ efficient factory Plant Prefab in one month, the YB1 is installed in a day with all electrical (solar), plumbing, HVAC and appliances in place. The YB1 adheres to LivingHomes’ high environmental efficiency standards, and saves 70-80% of material waste compares to traditional construction. The YB1 ADU is also friendly to neighbors with such a short installation time: no more never ending construction project next door!

It is anticipated that the prefabricated ADU market will grow substantially in the next decade as consumers seek additional living solutions, and cities seek to increase rental housing stock by making the process of adding small homes to existing properties more convenient. Together, our goal is to respond to this need in a novel way, and work on new manufacturing technologies that bring higher efficiency and lower costs over time. The YB1 is the first of a series of designs that will aim at providing beautiful, practical, sustainable and affordable solutions to the nascent ADU prefab market.

Check out this interview with the New York Times to learn more about the project and stay tuned for continued collaborations with LivingHomes and PlantPrefab.

Explore more of the YB1 design here

Related articles