Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 27

OMA_OLIN / nArCHITECTS-Iwan Baan / nArCHITECTS-Pablo Enriquez

GE T TING MODUL AR

As housing prices continue to skyrocket in major
American cities, some architects are turning back
to an older trend to make housing more affordable
as well as sustainable-modular housing. The idea
of a prefabricated home, made in a warehouse
and shipped into place, fell out of favor in the U.S.
soon after World War II but has continued to
develop in Europe and Japan. Now a new breed
of modular homes-affordable but hi-tech and
expertly designed-is gaining traction once again.
"Well-designed spaces in which to live in New
York and other big cities can be a very desirable
thing," says Prosky. "The space can be compact,
but every inch of it really well designed, and prefabrication and modularization can offer that." He
points to Carmel Place, in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan, where nArchitects is stacking 300-squarefoot units in a so-called micro-housing development
catering to hip, young New Yorkers. A portion of the
units are set aside for affordable housing. "Small
units can be fitted out with prime amenities for
people who can and want to pay more, but can be
fitted out with less-luxurious appliances and become
attractive for people on a budget," says Prosky.
By manufacturing the units in a factory, a
developer can create a factory-line environment
that keeps costs down, while also allowing for rapid
customization. "You can control the standards of
the environment," says Van Lengen. "You can make
a change in the design, and it can be sent to the
structural team right away. The speed with which
everything can happen is dramatic."
Libby Murphy Zemaitis '08, co-founder of the
New Paltz-based start-up Up Homes, is focusing on
her own version of modular housing in the Hudson
Valley. The company builds modular homes in
250-square-foot units that can be combined and
rearranged in a variety of configurations. Its goal
is to fill the niche for millennials looking to buy
an affordable, environmentally friendly home in
a non-urban environment.
Millennials make up the largest generation in
history, she says, and represent a huge demand
for new housing. "If [development is] done wrong,
it can be a huge problem for sustainable development. We need a new model that balances developVA S S A r Q U A r T E r LY

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018

Contents
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - Cover1
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - Cover2
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - Contents
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 2
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 3
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 4
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Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - Cover3
Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - Cover4
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