Like many in the architecture field, Michelle Kaufmann, AIA, LEED AP, had a tough year in 2009. Events caused by the national economic crisis forced her to shutter her green prefab company and sell off her preconfigured house designs. But Kaufmann has proved resilient. She recently launched the website for her new four-person design firm, Michelle Kaufmann Studio

“The ideas we had with Michelle Kaufmann Designs were definitely the right goals,” she says of her former company, chosen as residential architect’s top firm of 2008. “A lot of people put a lot into making it happen. I’m still trying to make change, but we’re doing it with only four people. The model is different.”

Kaufmann and her staff currently are working on several environmentally friendly projects, including a modular eco-resort in the Bahamas for Orvis Travel; an infill development in Denver, also modular; a site-built, net-zero energy house in Miami, and a few custom modular houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the firm is based. She’s also been consulting with other green prefab companies, which she says is a nice complement to her design work. “The category of green prefab is actually growing, even in this economy,” she notes. “It’s what I believe in, more than ever.”