Residential Design

VOL4 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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residential firms either, says Joe. It's the revolution/evolution problem again. "What's interesting is, the enti- ties we've met with who've attempted to start a revolution have encountered a rocky road. They're really going to be best suited to larger projects— multifamily, hotels, commercial building. Custom building is still a very local business." In his heart of hearts, he worries about the long-term viability of the kinds of factories his firm requires. "Where the next level and next phase needs to be is the quantity and quality of partners. I see more people look- ing outside the States, to larger-scale entities in countries where factory-built housing is more commonplace and more sophisticated. "It'll be a missed opportunity if we can't sustain factories here. There's a great opportunity in creating urban and suburban spaces," he says. "But it's a misguided approach to try to go big and fabricate in one location and then try to go everywhere with the product. It's not the solution for every project, and it's not a magic bullet. For every project you have to consider the location, use, and budget. One-size-fits-all is not the solution many newcomers to the space think it is." Evolution 9 In the meantime, RES4 continues to iterate its well-developed system of modules. For years, the firm worked on the problem of the 16-foot-by-60-foot module, which is the maximum size that can be transported by tractor-trailer on public highways. The firm has devised a system of modules for "communal use" (kitchens, living, and dining areas) and ones for "private use" (bedrooms, sitting rooms, closets, bathrooms). And there are patterns of arrangement or typologies to achieve desired square footage and other programmatic and design goals. In the past decade, the firm has investigated the possibilities of smaller modules—the more nimble 12-foot- wide ones, for instance. "The Fishers Island House started exploring var- ious other dimensions, and mixing, matching, and organizing 12-foot-wide modules in various compositions and types. That's been exciting," says Joe. Day labor, materials, and modules for the house, built in 2012, had to be transported to the island by standard ferry, so the smaller dimensioning was critical. The firm continues to enter design competitions—most recently, New York City's "Big Ideas for Small Lots" housing design competition—and it's interested in applying its modular understandings to micro-units and other multifamily building types. There's also a passion for building out whole prefab communities, perhaps in exurban locations. Single-family custom work remains the mainstay, however, whether prefab or site built. And the site-built projects provide their own evolutionary opportu- nities to stretch professionally. "We love exploring new avenues of construction. In addition to wood, we're doing a steel fabricated building in Brooklyn and a precast building in Florida," says Joe. After nearly 30 years on the job, the new kids on the block are still keeping it new.—S. Claire Conroy Above: The 2012 Fishers Island House required ferrying modules from the mainland to the island. So, RES4 turned to a system of smaller12-foot-wide modules. The typology used here is a combination double-wide/triple-wide hybrid for a total of 8 boxes and 4,469 square feet. Above: Last year's Pelham Shore House uses the T-Series typology to capture bay views for key rooms. Photos this page: Resolution: 4 Architecture 18 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2019 PRO-FILE DESIGN

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