Ask Chris Moller about the potential for prefabrication to change the way we build our houses and he cites a cartoon. Drawn by the American neo-futurist architect Buckminster Fuller in the 1950s, it depicts a car being constructed on a suburban front lawn. “Of course, no one would contemplate making a car like that, yet that’s how we do buildings – not just houses, everything.”
The Wellington-based architect and deputy chair of PrefabNZ will get a chance to air his enthusiasms when he hosts Grand Designs New Zealand later this year. In the same way that Kevin McCloud’s love of heritage shines through in the English version, Moller’s passion for prefab will surely make an appearance.
“I’ve spent 25-30 years producing buildings, and most of them have used prefabrication technologies in some form or other,” says Moller, whose CV includes affordable social housing projects in Europe where prefab featured particularly strongly. “You can assume that it’s baggage I’ll bring with me.”
Consider it another step in the rehabilitation of prefabrication’s public image. Historically associated with flimsy classroom blocks and ticky-tacky housing, prefab is increasingly being touted as an answer to all manner of ills, from the Auckland housing shortage and the leaky homes debacle, to the Christchurch rebuild and the unaffordability of quality design.
Read the full article published in KiaOra Magazine here (PDF 2597kb).