The good news: Some Danish architects teamed up with some British digital fabrication people to create a 1,250-square-foot house produced in a rapid prototyping machine. (A rapid prototyping machine uses computer modeling to quickly produce scale models of physical parts.) The bad news is, for a house made of Tinkertoy, it cost a bundle to build: $300,000, enough to get you a pretty decent house that would be much harder for a wolf to blow down.
The house is really cool, as you can see from the picture. If this house were Katy Perry it would get your heart racing in its skin-tight jeans. And it has a lot of innovations that are very Earth-friendly: It doesn’t have a concrete foundation (the making and transport of concrete uses a lot of energy.) Because none of the parts are too heavy to be carried by two strong adults, it doesn’t require a lot of machinery. And it can be taken down easily, so that the site can return to its original state.
But man, this thing costs $240 a square foot. That’s about five times the cost of real estate in Houston, twice what it is in Miami, and one and a half times what it costs to own a little piece of Chicago. And that’s just the house. You still have to buy the land to put it on. So even though it’s cool that the house snaps together and looks good and is weatherproof, the internet is bitching about the cost, and who can blame it? No matter how cool and socially responsible these rad new modular homes are, people gotta be able to pay for them.
Why does it seem so many stories about clever ways of using less of our precious resources have a good side and a bad side? Is it maybe because continuing to keep commerce rolling and to live well while struggling mightily not to incinerate ourselves in a giant fireball is kind of challenging?