A custom home may seem out of reach for most Americans, but a new partnership between two architecture firms and a prefab home builder seeks to change that. Architecture firms KieranTimberlake and Lake|Flato teamed up with builder Bensonwood for OpenHome, a new concept bringing budget-friendly custom home design to the masses. Not only does OpenHome want to bring down the cost of custom homes, but also the time required. The trio paired up in 2018 and began taking projects in spring of 2020, reports Fast Company. The OpenHome system consists of a series of building blocks that serve as sections of rooms.
Built using prefabricated panels that Bensonwood makes in its factory, these clusters can be combined to create rooms of different sizes that can all connect together into a complete home, each designed to be all-electric and meet the low-carbon Passive House energy standard.
Working with an architect, homebuyers can define the spatial layout of their house and the types of rooms it will have by combining clusters from the OpenHome library. The pieces can be combined in a variety of shapes from narrow to wide, single- or double-story, in straight lines, perpendicular arrangements, or with interior courtyards.
“This is what allows us to swap out an extra bedroom or put in a larger bedroom, pull something apart and slip in a piece that didn’t exist, or rearrange the living room and kitchen relationship,” Krissel says. “We know how Bensonwood can build [each component], we have a design for them, and they can grow or contract for different needs or even shuffle around for different configurations.”