Upon his first visit to Tasmania, an island south of the Australian mainland, resident David Burns was immediately smitten with its varied, pristine landscape. Working with architecture firm Misho+Associates, he built a self-sustaining, 818-square-foot prefab retreat that would allow him to completely unplug from urban life.
The home was designed as a “box within a box,” in which two interior structures—an open-plan living space and two en suite bedrooms—sit within its exterior envelope. Inspired by the region’s fiery orange lichen and the indigenous waratah shrub’s bright flowers, the colorful exterior panels are made of heavy-duty galvanized steel to guard from Tasmanian winds, which can reach up to 60 miles per hour.
A prefab house designed by ArchiBlox on the northern beaches of Sydney sustains high winds and spray from the surf, so the firm wrapped the exterior in marine-grade Colorbond Ultra steel. Panels of Queensland blue gum, a native Australian hardwood, clad the street-side facade, which is protected from the harsh climate.
The residents, who previously lived in Japan, asked that the bathroom be modeled after a Japanese-style bathhouse. Wood-effect porcelain tiles from Ariostea line the shower and tub area.
After outgrowing their holiday flat above a beachside cafe on the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne, Australia, Anna Horne and her husband, John Willems—with their two young sons, Jude and Sam, in tow—decided to purchase land nearby and install a prefab house.
At the time, Horne, having trained in architecture, was working for former colleagues who had just started their own prefab company, Prebuilt. “Up until that point, there were no kit homes available in Australia with a design focus,” says Horne. “I loved that my friends’ company was breaking new ground with logical, design-based ideas. It certainly makes building more manageable—and affordable.”
In a Melbourne suburb, a rundown 1850s cottage sat vacant on the market without buyer interest. Its worn and weathered appearance didn’t deter the property’s eventual owners, Agata and Chris Millington, from seeing the potential behind the dilapidated facade, though. The home, a prefab manufactured in Boston, was originally shipped from the United States to Australia in the 1850s and assembled on-site.
This historical context meant that the original structure could not be torn down, but instead had to be preserved in compliance with local Heritage Council restrictions. Unphased, the owners embraced the original structure, and set out to create their dream home. Together with Melbourne-based Jost Architects, the couple dramatically transformed the derelict cottage into a lively and vibrant home for themselves and their young son, all in just five months.
Earlier this year, Australian firm ArchiBlox has designed the world's first carbon-positive prefab.
The house's large, double-glazed windows are used to bring sunlight and warmth into the structure in the winter. Sliding walls of vertical planters act as shading devices in the summer.