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Prefab Hardcover – 30 May 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs M. Smith Inc (30 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586851322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586851323
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,196,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


...The challenges of light, flexible, non-permanent housing cry out for elegant solutions... That is exactly what we get in this book. -- Doors of Perception website, May 2002

PREFAB...presents the fascinating history of prefabricated housing--both its shortcomings and its enormous potential... -- Dwell magazine, Sept/October 2002

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a nice coffee table kind of book, glossy photos of some amazing buildings, mostly new-build. An ideas book rather than an informative one, but pleasant enough all the same. I bought it whilst researching my book on UK prefabs (Palaces for the People: Prefabs in Post-War Britain). It wasn't at all useful for what I wanted but I enjoyed it all the same. Makes you want to move into a pod! Note it is US based and very much for that market. Possibly a bit overpriced?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prefab: pretty fabulous 23 Jan. 2003
By D. Bishop - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It looks like a coffee table book yet reads like a dream. This is not only one of the most comprehensive books on the subject, but easily the most lucid and engaging. The authors clearly had fun with the material and manage to convey a good deal of knowledge - including the history and future of prefabricated housing - without a whiff of pedantry or pedagogical claptrap.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting overview of prefab homes, past, present and future 29 Nov. 2005
By Kelly Garbato - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In PREFAB, author Allison Arieff presents an interesting overview of "prefabricated" buildings, past, present, and future. Yet, I would not recommend this book to average modular home consumers, as many of the projects described in PREFAB are highly customized, somewhat eccentric, and generally impractical for those looking to save time and money by utilizing prefab construction as opposed to regular, stick-built construction. Some of the buildings aren't even single-family dwellings, but apartment buildings. Nonetheless, PREFAB is a helpful resource for those who'd like to learn more about the history of prefabricated buildings, as well as the current state of affairs, and in which unusual directions the industry will be headed in the future.

Arieff begins PREFAB with a lengthy (29-page) discussion of the history of prefabricated homes, starting with panelized wood homes in England and the US in 1624, through the American mobile home boom after WWII, and ending with the current state of the industry. The next three sections of the book are devoted to various modern prefab projects. The first, titled "Production," presents "a diverse group of well-designed houses and multi-family dwellings that are either in production, or poised to be." Of the three groups, "Production" is perhaps most relevant to the average consumer; it illustrates the sheer diversity of prefab homes that are available around the world. It also reflects how beautiful prefab homes can be, both inside and out. Next up is "Custom," an eclectic mix of "unique homes by architects less interested in the mass production of houses than in the aesthetic, environmental, and economic benefits of prefabrication." The buildings in this section are stunning - the Penthouse at Albert Court, which sells for $4 to $5 million, is my favorite. Finally, "Concept" features the strangest buildings of the bunch. According the Arieff, the concept buildings represent "a diverse array of virtual and conceptual prefab projects that employ everything from websites to neoprene in order to create the next generation of prefabricated housing." Experimental to the extreme, these plans seem geared towards architects, artists, and other design/construction professionals.

For the beginner, PREFAB is an interesting and engaging introduction to the history of prefabricated housing. As my knowledge of construction and architecture is limited, I can't say whether students or professionals will find PREFAB especially enlightening. I found the author's writing to be crisp and captivating, and I thought there was a good balance of pictures and text. I would definitely recommend PREFAB to newbies who would like to know more about prefab housing; yet, I would direct those looking for a consumer or how-to guide to go elsewhere. Overall, an interesting read, but probably not for everyone (for example, I can see how pros might want additional pictures, larger graphics, and more detailed floor/elevation plans, especially given the book's high price tag).
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally, a comprehensive book on prefab 15 Nov. 2002
By Jonathan Spero - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As an architecture student now a working as a builder, I couldnt help but being drawn into this book. Organized into 4 sections: History, Production, Custom, Concept, with a wide array of photographs, plans and renderings cleanly presented. The history section does a great job of bringing any curious reader interested in this subject up to speed, creating a great departure point for the 30 or so contemporary projects that follow it. This book is well researched and really gets you excited about the potential of prefab by presenting a wide range of projects in the U.S. and Internationally, exploring a wide range of techniques / systems being developed today. The future of housing looks bright with prefab!
5.0 out of 5 stars Any collection strong in architecture and home design will welcome the color photos and in-depth history 18 Sept. 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Prefabricated houses have a reputation for being cheap and ugly, with identical structures and little character - but PREFAB offers a set of exceptions and provides proposals from architects and designers who made their prefabs different. A history of prefab's choices and paths uses the work of over twenty-five modern architects and designers to profile a range of prefab options. Any collection strong in architecture and home design will welcome the color photos, in-depth history and construction details.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overly general 5 April 2009
By A. Parris - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited when I read some of the reviews of this book, but once I got it, I realized that it is just not the comprehensive book I was looking for. There are tons of pictures, but they are not as good as those in other similar books. The book I do recommend on this topic is "Prefab Modern" by Jill Herbers. The pictures and discriptions are great. It's not a book you'd use to actually build your own home, but it has a variety of ideas and places to start.
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