Modular 1 And Modular 2

Kansas City, KS United States


Project Description

2006 RADA

Project Of The Year

The prefabricated nature of Modular 1 and Modular 2, which share residential architect's 2006 Project of the Year award, intrigued the judging panel. “Everybody needs to be thinking about this,” one judge said of prefab housing. “Modular homes are a reality.” In the end the homes' crisp beauty proved the deciding factor that won the panel over. “I'd love to live there,” another judge commented.

The jury's enthusiasm—and the speedy sales of both homes—confirm what University of Kansas architecture professor Dan Rockhill already suspected. “We felt very strongly that there was a client base for this type of architecture,” he says. For more than a decade Studio 804, Rockhill's innovative program at the university's School of Architecture and Urban Design, has quietly designed and built modern affordable housing in Lawrence, Kan. But empty lots there have grown scarce. In 2004 Rockhill partnered with a community development corporation in Kansas City, Kan., which commissioned Studio 804 to design and construct a for-sale, single-family house. The arrangement provided the perfect opportunity to try prefab: the studio would design and build the house in Lawrence, then transport it 40 miles east to Kansas City.

Working in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse over a two-month period, Rockhill and his students created five wood-framed modules complete with drywall, painting, cabinetry, siding, and window placement. The group drove Modular 1 to its site on rented flatbed trucks and spent about a day joining the pieces together. After six more weeks of site work, they'd created a sleek, well-articulated house for $116 per square foot.

Modular 2, built in 2005 for the same nonprofit developer, followed a similar script. The building consists of six modules enclosed in a cypress skin. It incorporates donated, recycled materials such as maple flooring from an old gymnasium and leftover channel glass from the Steven Holl-designed expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. For both projects the students negotiated 5 percent to 10 percent discounts on some purchased building products, and they also saved money with cost-effective items like Ikea cabinets.

Modular 1 and Modular 2 fill an urgent community need for entry-level housing—a fact Rockhill cites with pride. Just as important to him, though, is the increased design restraint he's noticed in Studio 804 since modular housing entered its agenda. “Up through the first series of houses we did ... there were not that many things shaping the design direction,” he says. “When we started doing these modular houses, we had to get them out the door and under bridges. I found it was a very easy excuse to get the students to settle down.”

The two houses make up just a part of Studio 804's ongoing modular odyssey; it's currently putting the finishing touches on Modular 3, also in Kansas City, Kan.


Project Details

Modular 1 And Modular 2
Shared by:
Project Team:
    Dan Rockhill, Principal In Charge.
  • Developer: Jon Birkel 
  • Project Designer: Zach Allee 
  • Project Designer: Danielle Brooks 
  • Project Designer: Haylle Chau 
  • Project Designer: Nathan Couch 
  • Project Designer: Jen Deweii 
  • Project Designer: Brian Finan 
  • Project Designer: Wade Gardner 
  • Project Designer: Jeff Goode 
  • Project Designer: Adam Gumowski 
  • Project Designer: Michael Haas 
  • Project Designer: Gregory Keppel 
  • Project Designer: Brooke Knappenberger 
  • Project Designer: Kevin Mut 
  • Project Designer: Tony Onesti 
  • Project Designer: Nick Owings 
  • Project Designer: Ann Painter 
  • Project Designer: David Parks 
  • Project Designer: Troy Ramirez 
  • Project Designer: Kai Raab 
  • Project Designer: Will Robarge 
  • Project Designer: Matthew Bradley 
  • Project Designer: Ryan Burton 
  • Project Designer: Scott Clark 
  • Project Designer: Joe Davidson 
  • Project Designer: Mark Eisensohn 
  • Project Designer: Stephen Elwood 
  • Project Designer: Mike Gonos 
  • Project Designer: John Howerton 
  • Project Designer: David Kelman 
  • Project Designer: Tony Lackey 
  • Project Designer: Kylee Lashley 
  • Project Designer: Griff Roark 
  • Project Designer: John Schlueter 
  • Project Designer: Basil Sherman 
  • Project Designer: Amy Stecklein 
  • Project Designer: Randy Taylor 
  • Project Designer: Leanne Vesecky 
  • Project Designer: Jess Weaver 
  • Developer: City Vision Ministries 
  • Developer: Rosedale Development Association 
  • Developer: Unified Government of Wyandotte County 
  • Photography: Courtesy Studio 804 


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