Building on a Budget? Think ‘Unfitted’
Prefab buildings and commercial fittings help cut the cost of housing and give you a space that’s more flexible
What I want to create may seem radical to some, but I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. First and foremost, it has to be affordable. Which in architectural jargon translates as “simple.” Really simple!
My idea is to build a house using a prefab metal structure, like the kind used for mini storage. I envision a simple rectangular building with the row of garage doors replaced by sliding glass doors. This sustainable, economical approach also allows for complete interior flexibility, since industrial buildings like this one are engineered to be used as open space. A plumbed core for the bathroom and kitchen will help keep costs low, as will secondhand restaurant equipment and used plumbing fixtures.
To streamline construction costs, nothing will be built in — no cabinets, no closets — which is why I call the house “unfitted.” It’s an open space that can be personalized with off-the-shelf industrial elements tamed for residential use. The idea is not to live in a factory, but in an ever-evolving space that’s a blank canvas for creative exploration. Charles and Ray Eames did it in the 1950s. Why not do it today? Could this be the wave of the future?