A small prefab house in Spain

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Architect Daniel Martí i Pérez of DMP Arquitectura collaborated with designers Jurgen Van Weereld and Karin Giesberts to produce this small prefab house in the province of Alicante, Spain. Not only did they design it but they built it themselves, using it as a prototype to test and refine their ideas about how to build economical yet stylish prefabricated housing.

Prefab houses have seen only limited success so far, yet designers continue to explore the concept. Prefabrication is seen as a way to speed up the construction process, reduce the reliance on scarce skilled labor, maintain tighter control over the quality of the finished product, and ideally to reduce costs so the houses can be more affordable.

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To keep the costs low and facilitate standardization, the designers went with a simple rectangular floor plan of 51 m2 (550 ft2). The small house plan places the open living/dining/kitchen area on one side and lines up the private spaces along the other side. There are two bedrooms, a comfortable master bedroom along with a tiny second bedroom/study. A large walk-through closet behind the kitchen provides ample storage space. The floor plan indicates that the only entrance is through the living room’s French doors, but a more private front door could easily be located on the opposite side of the house next to the storage closet. The interior is bright with white walls and ceiling, but there are just enough wood accents to keep it from feeling stark.

A small prefab house in Spain by Daniel Martí i Pérez, Jurgen Van Weereld and Karin Giesberts

panel assembly

The designers chose wood as the main construction material for several reasons including its light weight, ease of use, sustainability, and the fact that it could be used for strutural support as well as both exterior and interior finishes. The house is supported by a floor system of laminated spruce beams, resting on just four concrete footings. The wall studs, rafters and exterior cladding are spruce as well, while the interior is lined with painted chipboard. The flooring is also chipboard, but with a cement coating. The floor, wall and roof panels were built in a workshop and then assembled on site by the designers in just ten days. Each panel was kept light enough that it could be handled by two workers, so the house can be built without the use of cranes or heavy equipment.

Photographs by Daniel Martí i Pérez, courtesy of DMP Arquitectura. Via CTT Madera.

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