Karrie Jacobs, one of my favorite architectural writers, has once again called out prefab housing for what it currently is, "building inside." As she argues in this Article from Metropolis Magazine, Architects thus far have approached prefab housing with an architect's mentality when it really requires an industrial designers approach.
Although prefab housing has started to gain a small niche, discussion and theoretical projects still far outweigh concrete examples. Even the current "models" on the market are primarily just pieces of homes built in a factory, trucked to the site and assembled over a standard foundation system. These homes are not truly manufactured. The level of efficiency and cost savings that is the goal of prefab housing will not be achieved until the entire approach becomes more like that of an automobile assembly line. So, as Karrie Jacobs suggests, are architects the right ones to be solving the problem of prefab construction?