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It's no secret that California is going through a housing crisis. All one has to do is merely look at the statistics. The Golden State has rental prices that are two-and-a-half times the national median, and in 2017, it maintained more than a quarter of the country’s total homeless population. To say the status quo is not sustainable is about as obvious as saying a roof goes over a home. As such, prefabricated homes (also called accessory dwelling units), with their eco-friendly and cost-effective incentives, have increasingly been gaining traction (even Amazon is seeing a bright future in the space). So much attention has been shifted toward accessory dwelling units (ADUs), that top designers are also throwing their hats into the ring to design spaces that look anything but what one might traditionally consider a prefabricated home. The latest innovator to enter this domain is Yves Béhar, a Swiss-based designer who has already found much success in home gadgets such as smart locks, robotic cribs, and tiny Bluetooth speakers.
It would make sense, after all, that Yves Béhar would take on such a lofty project as creating affordable, eco-friendly homes. The prolific Swiss designer has previously launched such humanitarian projects as One Laptop Per Child (which has given 2.5 million laptops to children in developing countries) and See Better to Learn Better (a program that distributes 500,000 free corrective eyeglasses annually to schoolchildren in Mexico and California).
The homes will vary in size and shape, while only taking a month to build and a single day to assemble on-site.
In order to create his ADUs on a mass scale, Yves Béhar partnered with LivingHomes, the design studio of Plant Prefab (a firm that's responsible for some of the best quality prefabricated homes in the country) to design what will be known as the YB1. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Yves Béhar on his first home product for a really critical, fast-growing segment in housing: ADUs," said Plant Prefab CEO Steve Glenn in a statement. "Yves is one of the top designers in the world and the YB1, the first in a line of LivingHomes he’s designed for us, reflects the incredible attention to form and functionality and ecological footprint that he brings to all products he develops.”
A look at a home's interior, which features a minimalist aesthetic.
Traditionally, one of the preconceived notions against prefab building is that all units look the same, and as such, retain a level of blandness that misses an opportunity to express oneself in the architecture of one's home. That will not be the case with Yves Béhar's YB1. The homes will accommodate different rooflines, different sizes, different layouts for windows, and a variety of interiors to create homes that are specific to each owner and their family.
The first three versions of YB1 are available in three different options that cover three different floor plans and roof systems. The first of the series is 650 square feet, but the homes will eventually range from an ultratiny 250 square feet to a more spacious 1,200 square feet. What's more, according to Béhar's rendered proposals, each home will come equipped with Flos lighting and a Béhar-designed Samsung TV. These ADUs can be used anywhere in the country, but it's California that the company intends to target, as it's the state with the greatest need for affordable, sustainable housing.
The first version of the YB1 will costs around $280,000 (the median price for a home in California is $600,000). These units will take roughly one month to be built (off-site), and one day to be constructed on-site. Over time, Béhar intends to bring the price down to $100,000.