UP!house 1500 prototype (cross section), 2005


Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Konyk’s up! house puts a new spin on the idea of prefabricated housing. Originally commissioned for Dwell magazine’s “dwell home invitational” in April 2003, the up! house has evolved into an ongoing investigation into the morphology and ideology of prefab dwellings. Each successive generation of the design—there are now twoand three-bedroom models— features innovations in manufacturing, finishes, and custom options available to clients.

As real-estate values have skyrocketed across the country, the idea of prefabricated housing has gained a new allure. What could be more interesting, efficient, and economical than ordering your new home online and having its components shipped to your site and assembled in practically no time at all? Because most prefab dwellings are trucked to their final destination, the factory-made parts are based on a module that must fit on a flatbed truck. As a result, many prefab homes are long, low, and boxy. The up! house, however, looks to the future, as well as to futuristic projects of the past, such as Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House. Its architecture borrows from the world of industrial design, especially automotive design and production techniques. The main component of the structural system is its factory-welded, lightweight steel-tube “uni-frame” or “chassis,” to which an exterior “body” of high gloss coatedmetal panels with matching tinted glass is attached. Finishes are available in sixteen colors, and guaranteed to last twenty years. Similar to an automobile, packages of options range from power windows to a moon roof. Indeed, Konyk claims that its aim is “to make the purchase of a single-family house akin to buying a new Mini Cooper.”