Marmol Radziner Building Green Prefabs In Santa Monica


L.A.-based architecture firm Marmol Radziner are well-known for their prefab projects, including this beautiful but troubled home in Desert Hot Springs. While the market for $1 million+ prefabs may still be questionable, the firm is focusing on the affordable housing market for a project in Santa Monica, a city known for its commitment to innovative low-income housing.

This spring, as part of the city’s affordable housing program, Marmol Razdziner is building 20 green, prefab mobile homes for residents of the Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The first home was delivered last week and the rest are expected to arrive throughout March for move-in by early April.

Designed by Marmol Radziner Prefab and manufactured by Golden West Homes, the mobile homes will be available for rent to qualifying individuals and families and range from 400 to 1,000 square feet. The city is purchasing a variety of designs, that include eco-conscious options and accessories such as such as green screen trellis walls, a multifunction “Green Box” storage cabinet that includes a rain barrel, compost bin and small kitchen garden planter, and porch and awning accessories designed to adapt to any lot size and orientation.

The mobile homes also feature renewable energy sources such as solar power, Energy Star-rated appliances and formaldehyde-free cabinets and insulation. According to Marmol Radziner, after the initial purchase by Santa Monica, owners of existing homes can choose to purchase the new homes. Could this be the true future of prefab?

Rendering of Star Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architecture, via NY Times.

Michael Maltzan seems to think so. His latest project for Skid Row Housing Trust is a four-story mixed use complex composed from prefab units. Is it cheaper to build prefab affordable housing? According to Maltzan, on a square footage basis, the difference is negligable but there are large cost savings in construction time and labor.

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