Livinghome, a Santa Monica based developer/builder of pre-fab modern housing, is building a demonstration home for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. This house will be build to meet LEEDv4 Platinum and Energy Star v3 standard. The house design has been site adapted to meet the challenges of the hot and humid New Orleans climate.

See the attached video of house being constructed in the Austin, TX factory:

Note the wood stud, batt insulation, and OSB panel construction. It looks very typical to what see if you were stick building on site. So it would not surprise me that the cost for this house would be the same as if you did it on site. You would get the benefit of better construction tolerance in the factory, but since you are assembling the same number of elements, using more or less the same type of tools and labor, you are not really changing the construction process significantly.  (incremental saving at best, and from my pre-fab research construction cost is a wash, from traditional on-site construction).

Look at this video of a 3D printed car. A typical car may have 25,000 individual parts, but this 3D printed car only has 50. In order to reduce cost significantly, one needs to simply the design, thus reducing labor cost to assemble.

This clip shows the car being printed:

This car has been produced by Local Motors:

“ . . . an American motor vehicle manufacturing company focused on low-volume manufacturing of open-source motor vehicle designs using multiple microfactories. They were founded in 2007 with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.

 In my research on the resurgence of US manufacturing (infused by high tech), Local Motors stands out as a possible example of localize production can make possible the proliferation of bespoke (british term meaning made to order) manufacturing.  ( . . . and isn’t Architecture the ultimate in bespoke, since it best when it is made tailor-fit)

Imagine how a tribe of design/build practitioners focused on sharing open source best practices and a micro-factory, would be able rejuvenate their local environs.  The question is, would this be the path to 10X (Larry Page’s moonshot criteria) improvement on traditional construction?

Below are links to Local Motors microfactory concept: