BUILDER Online (10/05/16) Goodman, Jennifer
The Greenbuild KB Home ProjeKt offers an in-depth look at the way houses will be constructed in the future. The project, which is based on Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's (Virginia Tech) FutureHaus research, will demonstrate the school's panelized approach to residential construction. The house will be outfitted with seven modular "cartridges" in spaces including the kitchen, bathroom, and a mechanical wall in the utility room. The approximately 30-inch-deep cartridges will be wired and plumbed in the factory, delivered to the site, plugged into the foundation, and joined together by wall panels and covered with roof trusses. KTGY Architecture + Planning project architect Manny Gonzalez says the idea has been employed by other manufacturing industries for decades. "You take the elements of a home that contain the fixtures and appliances, and you build them in modules with the idea that eventually we can build homes in manufacturing plants, just like cars," Gonzalez says. Joseph Wheeler, at Virginia Tech's Center for Design Research, notes this component approach will make the home more affordable and more adaptable than a site-built dwelling. The approach also will enable the home to evolve with the changing needs of its residents.