Many folks dream of moving to the American West. The idea of walking out of your front door to expansive views, abundant wildlife, endless recreational opportunities, clean air, a sky full of stars, and your own share of peace and quiet seems to simply captivate people. However, the very things that draw us to wild and beautiful places are often at risk when development occurs in a way that is disconnected from the context of the larger ecosystem.
Prefab and modular residential houses designed to be part of the ecosystems where they are built provide options for occupants that intend to best steward the places they call home. Over the last decade, many new and innovative products have come to market boasting low-impact building footprints, modern design, thoughtful scaling options, and sustainable materials.
The market of thoughtful and modern structures that are part of their ecosystems is growing and changing rapidly. Below, we've selected a handful of companies and products that have grabbed our attention and peaked our interest. Enjoy!
Based in San Antonio, Texas, Rising Barn offers sound, reliable structures ranging from a compact 11' x 13' product, Cote, to an expansive 25' x 35' structure, Opener, with many options in between. The design style is modern, price point affordable, and structure energy efficient. Rising Barn also offers construction services making install approachable and manageable.
From the architectural masterminds at Lake Flato, the Porch House concept provides a custom, site-specific, and LEED certified residential housing product for design-conscious owners. The modular design process combined with the addition of photovoltaic solar panels allows the house to be energy efficient to the point of being net zero energy consumption should an owner desire to do so.
Aiming to meet the needs of outdoor recreationalists at an affordable price point, the Back Country Hut Company has created a prefabricated shelter that isn't rudimentary. The design is modular in a way that allows owners the ability to increase the space as much as desired. The base structure is 191 square feet (sf) and can grow as follows:
- 2 modules, 527 sf
- 3 modules, 748 sf
- 4 modules, 937 sf
The prefab core design minimizes carbon footprint and site imprint. The structures are created for assembly by owners and requires no heavy machinery, which allows for minimal site disruption.
Perhaps the most luxurious modular structure concept currently on the market, Nomadic Shack offers minimalist style and simple and clean design in the form of site-specific structures that are fully customizable. The services offered by Nomadic Shack extend beyond custom plans to include site preparation, delivery and installation, and concierge services. Structure sizes vary from 640 sf to 2800 sf with options in between.
From Hyla Woods, the family-owned timber business caring for three working, experimental forests in the northern Oregon Coast Ranch, the Hyla Hut is a new concept currently in the prototype phase. The Hyla Hut is built from timber harvested as part of a sustainably managed forest under the ownership and management of Hyla Woods.