FlatPak House, Minneapolis, MN, 2004

Lazor Office

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Charlie Lazor’s FlatPak House is perhaps the most successful, and resolved, of the prefabricated housing efforts currently available. Lazor, who trained as an architect, cofounded Blu Dot, a company devoted to affordable, modern furniture design, with Maurice Blanks and John Christakos. In 2003, motivated by his frustration at not being able to find an affordable modern home for himself, Lazor returned to his architect’s drawing board. With FlatPak, Lazor put to good use his knowledge of furniture design, manufacture, and assembly methods. The result is a remarkably flexible, affordable, and userfriendly system.

On FlatPak’s Web site, clients can explore a range of floor-plan configurations and exterior and interior finishes. The site, a crucial part of the FlatPak experience and a key to its success, is colorful and graphically clean, and its straightforward instructions are communicated step by step with wit and humor. Currently, four different prototypes, each with a different floor-plan configuration, are available. FlatPak’s flexible kit-of-parts system, based on an eight-foot-wide, onestory wall module, consists of three basic components: concrete wall panels; woodframed panels with wood, metal, or cement-board siding; and wood frames with large expanses of glass.

By undertaking all elements of the FlatPak process himself—from design to manufacture and construction— and living in it with his family, Lazor has delivered an efficient and refined kit of parts that is no longer a dream but a reality.