History of Prefabs

Haus Erdas - Società Cooperativa Sociale ONLUS

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Created by Christian Pircher

The Pioneers of Prefabricated Houses

Prefabricated houses have an ancient history. Even from ancient Egypt some enormous stones were prefabricated and then towed to the worksites to then assemble them in a pyramid shape. In many European medieval houses constructions, beams were pre-sawn and pre-planned to then be assembled on the worksite. Nowadays complete houses are completely prefabricated in the factory, whose quality is unbeatable. Here we present you the most important pioneers of modern construction.

Leonardo Da Vinci

The inventor of the prefabricated house is none other than Leonardo Da Vinci. The universal genius that not only painted the “Mona Lisa”, but also designed around 1494 with the “Mutable House” the first green building, which also consists of prefabricated components put up together.

Walter Gropius

Gustav Lilienthal

The younger brother of the aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal, invents in 1900 the so-called “Terrast House”. These buildings are completely prefabricated and have just to be put up together on the worksite. However, they were just functional buildings, that still lacked of aesthetic standards.

A new quality of prefabricated houses is born thanks to Walter Gropius. He founded in 1919 in Weimar the “Bauhaus”, the most famous German architecture school. His philosophy was to vary the house typology through prefabricated components. This “modular system” made prefabricated houses, from any point of view, an extremely cheap product because you could save materials, time and money. Despite the industrial production, buildings could be built individually and maintain a distinct architectural style.

Konrad Wachsmann

As one of the first architects, Konrad Wachsmann dealt with a long time with industrial prefabrication and in 1920 he developed machines that produced wooden structures for house constructions. Thanks to the collaboration with Walter Gropius, prefabricated constructions progressed very much. In the United States Wachsmann and Gropius invented the “Packaged House System”, that was way ahead of its time.