This month, a house that sits on a beach in Australia made an appearance (so to speak) in the least likely of places: a high-profile New York art show. The house is a vision of the future of prefabricated housing known as Burst*003; the men who conceived it, Jeremy Edmiston and Douglas Gauthier, comprise one of five architectural teams chosen from nearly 400 to present a full-scale dwelling at the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) prefab show, “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” which opened July 15. The structure the pair designed for the show, actually another iteration of the Burst series called Burst*008, will stop passersby with ease. But the New York architects’ ability to add an element of customization to kit housing is their less noticeable and more sustainable achievement. Through a custom-kit process, they minimize waste even more than the average prefab.
“Everyone thinks prefab is just a big chunk of house you dump on a site and then you bolt it down,” says Gauthier. “Ours is a little bit more like an Ikea project. It’s thousands of pieces that can all be handled and stitched together on site.” Though the interior of the Burst*008 house will be modified to respond to the constraints of New York City and the MoMA’s specific building requirements, the structure will share many attributes with its Australian seaside counterpart. (Other Burst projects include a birdhouse and an art installation, so applying their concept in different contexts is nothing new for Edmiston and Gauthier.)
The MoMA show’s demands are the same as any domestic exhibition space, so Burst*008 will be altered to withstand heavy foot traffic. Its clear, glazed back, replete with bleachers and a deck, will open onto the other projects in the show, acting as a sort of performance, party, and meeting space. What’s more, you’ll be able to see the façade from the street, which means Burst*008 might cause its fair share of house envy; particularly if, in the mid-July heat, there are surfboards stowed in those joists.
Story by Amber Bravo. This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2008.