Absolutely Prefab: Prefab for an Atompunk world

30 Aug

Although Prefab seems so very Atompunk (post WWII-70s) it actually began Steampunk, in Victorian times. Prefab or previsouly fabricated refers to housing that is built off site than put together later, on the actual housing plot. Our modern concept of it began in 1853, when London carpenter H. Manning advertised the Manning Portable Cottage. It was aimed at the Australian market, so that English emigrants could have an homey, authentic feeling piece of Englishness in their new world.

The true glory day of prefab is however after WWII. The need for quick, portable mass accommodation during WWII ensured that many architects and builders worked on these ideas, and thus after the war ended the industry took off.

Since we are particularly interested in Atompunk sensibilities, that is not just the era of the 50s, 60s and 70s, but its vision and imaginings of the future, we are featuring prefab buildings of yesterday that dream of a brave new prefab tomorrow.


You can stick it anywhere! Live on a roof! In a yard! Loft cube can give you a modernist loft of the future anywhere!

The Douglas Fir Plywood Association modern prefab cabins. Second Homes for Leisure Living in the 1960s.

The Futuro prefab. Sold in the late 60s and 70s:

The Venturo!:

Clusters in the Air by Japanese designer Arato Isozaki:

International Dome House Inc’s Styrofoam Prefab House:

The v2flat:

The M-House:

The Container House (made from shipping containers):

And of course, the great Buckminster Fuller:


We’ll be back tomorrow with examples of CURRENT futuristic prefab homes. The dreams of tomorrow, today.


Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Absolutely Prefab: Prefab for an Atompunk world

  1. Greene

    August 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Don’t forget the Sears bungalow, ordered right from the catalog. You had to assemble yourself, but it came with instructions. Cute little arts & crafts houses.

    By the way, you do a great job on the blog. Fascinating and well-researched romp through cultural history!

    • paulms

      August 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Oh, those Sears homes are classic. And i knew a few growing up. The only reason they were left off is their lack of utterly insane retro future kitsch. And thanks!


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