Exterior view, day.
Mark Boisclair Exterior view, day.

Colab Studios 

If there’s one thing the southwestern United States has in excess, it’s sunshine, so it makes sense that Tempe, Ariz.–based Colab Studio—partnering with Vali Homes and general contractor 180 Degrees—is developing a suite of prefabricated homes that are designed to use solar power to achieve net-zero energy usage. This first 1,500-square-foot prototype is aimed at the mid -income, sustainability- minded owner, and was designed with infill lots in  the Phoenix area in mind. The single-story dwelling has two bedrooms, living and dining areas, and an enclosed patio. The structure, influenced in form by the Case Study Houses of Southern California fame, is clad in bent 20-gauge steel strips (vertically oriented on the walls, and horizontal, with slight spacing in between each strip, to fence in the patio). These steel strips have also been allowed to rust to form a variegated surface. “It's beautifully made,” juror Cary Bernstein said. “It's a very smart use of rhythm and joints to get beyond an obvious kit of parts.” The home has been designed to surpass LEED Platinum certification requirements.

Click here to see all of the winners of the 2014 Residential Architect Design Awards.

Exterior steel skin.
Mark Boisclair Exterior steel skin.

Mark Boisclair Elevation.

Vail Homes Prototype, designed by Colab Studio.
Mark Boisclair Vail Homes Prototype, designed by Colab Studio.

Mark Boisclair Terrace.

Mark Boisclair Kitchen.

Living and dining area.
Mark Boisclair Living and dining area.

Bedroom terrace.
Mark Boisclair Bedroom terrace.


Floor Plan.
Courtesy Colab Studio Floor Plan.

Project Credits

Project  Vali Homes Infill Prototype House, Phoenix
Architect  Colab Studio, Tempe, Ariz.— Matthew Salenger, AIA
General Contractor  180 Degrees—James Trahan, AIA
Developer and Land Planner  Vali Homes—Austin Trautman
Landscape Architect  Urban Cactus—Ryan Jerrell
Photography  Mark Boisclair
Project Size  1,500 square feet
Construction Cost  $140 per square foot

Materials and Sources

Bathroom Cabinets, Fittings, and Fixtures  Ikea ikea.com
Countertops  Daltile daltile.com
Dishwasher  Bosch bosch-home.com
Doors and Windows  Windsor Windows & Doors windsorwindows.com
Exterior Siding  Custom steel pan system
Flooring  Concrete
Garbage Disposal  Whirlpool whirlpool.com
Hardware  Windsor Windows & Doors windsorwindows.com
HVAC  Fantech (HRV) fantech.net; Mitsubishi mehvac.com
Insulation  Recycled blow-in cellulose insulation (newsprint)
Kitchen Cabinets, Fittings, and Fixtures  Ikea ikea.com
Paints and Finishes  Sherwin-Williams Co. sherwin-williams.com
Refrigerator  Whirlpool whirlpool.com
Roofing  Sprayfoam
Solar Energy System  Sun Valley Solar Solutions  (photovoltaics) svssolutions.com