Monday, November 06, 2006

MODULAR MOVEMENT

Homes from one end of the Mississippi Coast to the other are being built in a hurry - finally.

In Ocean Springs, Chris and Carolyn Clark had their 2,400-square-foot custom modular home delivered Sept. 20. Two days later it was 80 percent complete. In Pass Christian, Barbara McCray had a more modest 1,400-square-foot design set last week. She plans to move in next week.

The Clarks' home is being finished out in the new Mulberry Grove subdivision near Taconi Elementary in Ocean Springs. Chris Clark is president of Mississippi Cottage Co., one of the first modular-home builders to open in Mississippi.

Clark is originally from Long Beach and his mother and sister lost their homes there to Hurricane Katrina. The engineer said he decided to return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after 20 years away to help the people here rebuild. Read More

These prefab homes come with a view

The latest idea in compact living is a little box on top of a high-rise in the city or suburbs. Modular structures that might be placed atop flat existing buildings are already being produced in Europe.

Architect Werner Aisslinger designed an instant penthouse in a transportable 400-square-foot Loftcube (www.loftcube. net). The unit is light enough to be transported by helicopter and costs about $70,000. Including bathroom and kitchen, the price can be $173,000 to $230,000. With walls of glass, this could also be the perfect answer for a mountaintop retreat or an island hideaway.

The unit shown here is the sleek Hanse Colani Rotor House designed for young professionals who need minimal space. It began as part of an avant-garde project begun originally by design guru Luigi Colani and Hanse Haus (www.hanse-haus.de) to deal intensively with the topic of house shapes of the future. Read More

Builders take ecology into account

Whether it's using recycled carpet, denim for insulation or waterless urinals, buildings in San Gabriel and Pomona valleys are becoming more "green."

"Twenty-five years ago, environmentalists represented one fringe group of the community," said Gary Kates, dean of Pomona College in Claremont. "Now, those who aren't environmentalists are in the fringe."

As recycled materials become more available, and as energy costs continue to rise, experts said thinking green makes environmental and business sense.

"When we first started, we couldn't find recycled materials," said Annie Argento, operations manager of Pasadena-based Yorkshire Development. "Now, the industry has exploded."

Mark von Wodtke, co-founder of Environmental Design Group in Claremont, said he has seen a spike in environmentally friendly architecture. Read More

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Downtown Event Honors Builders

More than 400 construction industry and architecture professionals gathered at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel last week for the 71st annual Construction Industry Awards, hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The Oct. 5 event honored UCLA, USC and the Getty Center for "thinking ahead and planning for growth."

Harold M. Williams, president emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Trust and counsel at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, received the Ira Yellin Distinguished Achievement Award for his work on establishing the Westside venue. Peter W. Blackman, administrative vice chancellor at UCLA, was given a lifetime achievement honor for overseeing the retrofitting of the UCLA campus, and Curtis Williams, vice president of facilities management at USC, received a lifetime achievement award for the capital construction campaign on the university's two campuses. Read More

Modular Homes Slowly Replacing Hurricane Debris

Building inspectors in Pass Christian and D'Iberville praised the factory built homes. They liked the sturdy construction. And they loved how quickly modular homes allowed hurricane victims to move back home.

The early modular home building rush is out west, where hurricane victims in towns like Pass Christian don't have to wait for contractors to move back home. In fact, a modular homes was being hammered together Wednesday on the corner of East Second Street and Swanson Avenue.

Across the street, Lana Zeiss toyed with the idea of buying a similar pre-fabricated home for her lot. However, "I think that we'll go with the stick construction," she said.

In Pass Christian, where Katrina destroyed so many homes, people now have a choice. They can rebuild their homes the traditional way. Read More