Launch Slideshow

vision: customize modular typologies

vision: customize modular typologies

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    The key to the firm’s modular program lies in its site specificity. The Hawk Ridge Residence will contain a customized central dining porch that opens up to the outdoors.

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    The next test for Resolution: 4 will be the completion of 20 or so prefab homes it’s now designing, including the House for Fire Island, whose modules will be delivered by barge.

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    Each modular home by Tanney and Luntz’s office represents an adaptation of their modular typologies. The Mountain Retreat is a cross between the Lifted Bar and Two- Story Bar, and the Retreat House is a customized blend of the Offset T, 3-Bar Bridge, and

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    4 Architecture

    Cranes place Resolution: 4’s second built modular house, in Annapolis, Md., onto its site.

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    The floor plan and window placement at this conventionally constructed house in Kent, N.Y., help bring in lake and forest views.

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    The firm’s modular typologies offer buyers a wide selection.

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    The Dwell Home, in Pittsboro, N.C., garnered a boatload of publicity both for Resolution: 4 and for prefab housing in general.

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    4 Architecture

rob luntz and joe tanney
resolution: 4 architecture
new york city

www.re4a.com

It all started with a loft. Dozens of lofts, actually. For 15 years, the New York City firm Resolution: 4 Architecture has relied on a steady diet of loft renovations. “Doing a lot of high-end residential work in New York, we've learned to maximize each and every inch of space,” says co-founder Joseph Tanney, AIA. Hearing his loft clients bemoan the lack of Modern housing options outside the city gave him and partner Robert Luntz, AIA, some food for thought. If they could design a minimal box within an existing building, they reasoned, why couldn't they do the same thing on its own—a freestanding loft? And, for that matter, why couldn't they repeat the module over and over again, offering home buyers an affordable Modern housing option? “It's a natural extension of our work to be designing within a box,” Tanney says. “We've been doing this since we started.” Tanney and Luntz, whose combined resumes include stints with Gwathmey Siegal, Peter Eisenman, FAIA, and Perkins & Will, knew they weren't the first to imagine mass-produced Modern housing. “Most architects over the age of 40 will say they've been interested in it at some point,” Tanney says. For several years the idea was just that to them—an interest, rather than something they actually pursued. But around 2002 the revitalized prefab movement caught the attention of the media, and the deluge of press spurred Tanney and Luntz to stop dreaming. After researching all aspects of the prefabricated housing business, they decided to focus on modular designs. And they came up with an angle most of their failed predecessors hadn't tried: working within the system, rather than trying to change it from the outside. Instead of expecting manufacturers to adapt to their ideas, they decided to design houses that could be built using established factory procedures. Since the industry wasn't seeking out Modern designs, they'd bring Modernism to the industry.

Once the pair had established their course of action, they designed a series of six modular housing typologies. Several variations exist within each typology, and each one can be customized and combined with other modules to create a house tailored to its site and client. For example, the Dwell Home, Resolution: 4's winning entry in dwell magazine's 2003 prefab invitational, is a modification of the Two-Bar Bridge, a subset of the Standard Bar typology. And the firm based a just completed 2,500-square-foot home in Annapolis, Md., on the Z Series typology, adapting it to fit a narrow site, channel waterfront views, and save an existing tree. The system refutes the notion that prefab doesn't take the site into account, a subject Tanney feels strongly about. “Architecture needs to be site-specific,” he says. “You can't just plop down McDonald's everywhere. We're not interested in perpetuating the complacency of American suburbs.”