Ed Binkley, AIA, has been on a lifelong mission to make mass-market housing more affordable and attractive. So when the Oviedo, Fla.–based principal of Ed Binkley Design came up with a new line of small affordable houses that go a long way toward solving the affordable problem, it occurred to him that the structures also have a secondary application: disaster housing.
Offered by Cabin Fever, a Miami-based prefab manufacturer, Shelter Series is a collection of component-based houses that can be ordered as a package and shipped out with all the necessary parts. “The intention of this concept is to bridge the gap between mass market housing and very low-end housing that often does not address the livability or design style factor,” Binkley says.
Priced as low as $50 per square foot, a Shelter Series home ranges in size from 530 square feet to about 1,000 square feet. The house is shipped out with the panelized exterior and interior walls, appliances, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and almost everything that it needs for construction—with the exception of the drywall, which will be locally sourced. Because they are shipped as a package and because the prefab components will reduce on-site labor costs, Binkley says the homes easily can be mobilized and shipped to an area that needs immediate disaster-relief housing.
“Depending on where the homes are needed, and for what period of time, the price could come down,” the architect says. “If they are used as temporary or transitional housing, we could also reduce some other costs such as full kitchens and some of the upgraded finishes.”
Executives at Cabin Fever agree. “As you might imagine, being a prefab builder in Miami, we have had a lot of interest in our buildings for post-earthquake Haiti,” says Andrew Kelly, president of the company. “We have developed several designs in response to requests for affordable housing solutions, and working with Ed Binkley will allow us to add quality, family-oriented homes to our domestic and international portfolio which, along with our smaller structures, are perfect for the long-term rebuild of Haiti."