The E.D.G.E., a small prefab house | Revelations Architects/Builders
Following the 2006 housing market crash in the United States, Revelations Architects/Builders set out to design a small house alternative to the bloated McMansion that had become so prevalent there. They aimed to distill housing down to the basics of providing space for eating, sleeping, bathing and socializing, while making efficient use of resources.
The result was the E.D.G.E. (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment). It consists of two modules containing the service areas of the house, with the kitchen in one and the bathroom in the other. The modules are intended to be prefabricated, ensuring that the plumbing, mechanical and cabinetry work is done in a controlled setting. Once those modules have been put in place, the space between is filled in with walls of glass to enclose the living/dining area. The whole structure is covered by a butterfly roof (one that slopes towards the center), facilitating rain-water collection. Utilities are housed in a small bump-out at one end of the house.
The large glass areas provide natural lighting and solar heat gain during the day. Insulated barn-style doors can be closed to keep the heat in at night. The sliding doors also offer security when the home is unoccupied.
The small home has 358 ft2 (33.2 m2) on the ground floor plus two loft bedrooms of 80 ft2 (7.4 m2) each over the kitchen and bath areas. The lofts are accessed by alternating tread stairs. A translucent panel behind one stair allows light from the adjacent window to reach the bathroom. The relatively low ceilings in the service and sleeping areas are balanced by the high ceiling of the central living space.
The architects made extensive use of plywood on the inside, using it for the wall and ceiling finish and also for the built-in cabinetry and matching custom furniture. The plywood pieces were precut on computer-controlled machinery to ensure accuracy and to enable speedy construction.
The E.D.G.E. was the recipient of a 2010 AIA (American Institute of Architects) Wisconsin Design Honor Award for overall design excellence and a 2011 National AIA Small Project Award.
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