With Zaha Hadid “touring around” a modular housing concept
with “Get Lucky” crooner Pharrell Williams and Pritzker Prize-winning Renzo Piano designing an off the grid cabins
for Vitra, it’s not entirely surprising that another big-name architect-designer is dipping their toes into the world of green prefab housing: Philippe Starck.
A massively prolific
renaissance man, the French-born showman and unlikely sustainability advocate
is famous for having his hands in a lil’ bit of everything: Recycled sawdust chairs
, Steve Jobs’ yacht
, spider-legged juicers, high-end hotel rooms, “golden turd
”-topped Japanese beer halls, gnome stools, and personal wind turbines
. So really, the fact that self-described “Subversive, ethical, ecological, political, and fun” Starck has teamed up with Slovenia-based Riko, a company described as “one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of sustainable prefabricated wooden buildings,” on a range of factory-built turnkey eco-homes isn’t shocking in the least — perhaps even a bit delayed.
The creation of a designer with mainstream household recognition — Starck did baby monitors and tape dispensers for Target, after all — it’s a shame that the P.A.T.H.
(Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes) collection isn’t truly more accessible as advertised. The starting price points on the 34 different home configurations available in three main design types are egregiously high — try in the ballpark of half a million US dollars going by the 2,500 euro per square meter minimum.
Still, I’m sure there’s a market for — sales open up to European buyers this month — for these spendy, vegetation-topped homes that open “new ways towards a different future by combining timeless design, high technology, comfort and respect for the environment.”
Focusing on that last point, Starck and Riko cover all the mandatory bases when it comes to the highly customizable homes’ energy-saving and earth-friendly features: solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps, sustainable building materials, and on:
The most advanced engineering knowledge of sustainable construction has been integrated into the development of P.A.T.H.: from selecting high quality and environmentally-friendly construction materials, continuing on through the production and building process and finally resulting in the day-to-day life in your P.A.T.H. That is why we have chosen wood as P.A.T.H.’s main building material: a natural, renewable and recyclable material with an extremely clean and energy-saving lifecycle. Wood also creates a pleasant living environment, as it helps maintain an optimal indoor climate by balancing the humidity in the air and absorbing harmful vapours, gases or unpleasant odours. It is also antistatic, it does not give off harmful substances, nor is it radioactive. The utmost priority has been placed on providing a comfortable living space in which you will be able to enjoy an abundance of natural light, and at the same time keep thermal losses to a minimum. The answer to this lies in an elegant and highly efficient floor-to-ceiling aluminium-glass facade. Committed to further reducing our impact on the environment, each P.A.T.H. makes the best use of renewable energy sources for heating, ventilating and cooling your house. It is designed to integrate the latest smart and green technology of your choice: photovoltaics, solar panels, heat pump, wind turbine or rain water collector, among other. By combining the right equipment to best suit your energy efficiency requirements, Riko’s experts can help you choose the right package to ensure proper energy conservation and responsible resource use. And most importantly — we can help you turn your P.A.T.H. into a zero-energy or even positive-energy home.
Good stuff but shame about that price tag. And the turnaround time of six months is pretty darn speedy for such a quality product.
More including floorplans, an online configurator, and additional info over at the official P.A.T.H. website. Any thoughts Starck-struck design fans? Would you shell out big bucks for a Philippe Starck-designed prefabricated home with all the eco bells and whistles? Or would you rather just stick to toothbrushes and hotel suites?
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P.A.T.H.: Philippe Starck's pretty, prohibitively priced prefab project
Philippe Starck unveils a line of energy-efficient prefab homes with European wood builder Riko.