|An Architecture of Industrialization|
In all its history, the mobile home has evolved not through the expertise of professional designers but through the needs and desires of owners and users. Components are engineered and physical characteristics change, but manufactured houses are not subject to fundamental tectonic or aesthetic thought. Though there has been interaction between architects and the mobile home industry, these have not had lasting impact. In the early postwar period, architects developed a wide variety of designs for manufacturers trying to shift to a peacetime economy. In the intervening years, however, interaction between architects and the industry have been only sporadic. Opportunities that might arise from the involvement of professional designers who understand the positive qualities of manufactured houses have not been tested.
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Modernist architecture emerged with the application of industrialized building
systems and materials. Modernism's technological faith in innovation supported experiments with manufactured housing both in the United States and abroad.
Buckminster Fuller designed his first Dymaxion
House in 1927, speculating that in the near future housing would be seen as
a service (something like an appliance) rather than a commodity.
In Europe, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and
were extolling the virtues of industrialized building
as a means of making good housing affordable to all. By the 1960s,
standardized building materials were the norm rather than the exception, and
some designers including Moshe Safdie and
Paul Rudolph began to deploy the modular dwelling unit as the fundamental building block in housing development projects.
At the same time in London, Archigram and
Future Systems were drawing projects
as speculative projections about the future.
Universal standardization of building practices, coupled with a backlash to modernism's excesses, evince a more tactical postmodern response. Focus is not on the manufactured house as an object, but on its contextual potentials. Duany Plater-Zyberk have applied neotraditional town planning principles in their designs for a manufactured home park in Rosa Vista, Arizona. Projects by Deborah Berke use modular units put together to create conventional living spaces related to traditional North American house types but constructed at lower cost.