The Fabulously Updated Prefab Home

The movement dedicated to prefabricated contemporary houses didn't have a banner year in 2009, what with the May closure of mini-industry leader Michelle Kaufmann Designs. But the setbacks haven't kept architects from fantasizing about new solutions for prefab, and the remaining adventurous manufacturers from turning those dreams into reality.

At least since the 1920s, when Buckminster Fuller developed his first Dymaxion House, designers have tried applying factory power to home building. And, in recent years, potential homeowners have taken a shine to the work of Kaufmann and colleagues like Rocio Romero, who promised innovative homes that required less time, money, and carbon emissions than bespoke architecture.

Last month the Seattle-based company Method Homes launched Homb, designed by Skylab Architecture of Portland.