Prefabricated housing in architectural culture

Mathew Aitchison, John Macarthur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Architects have long been fascinated by the promise of prefabricated and modular building, in particular housing, and even more so the individual detached house. The ‘prefab’ house combines the promise of industrialised building with the dream of a popular mass market for architecture, and it has exercised a magnetism over architectural culture which is as strong today as it was at any point in the past. The interest originated in the mid-nineteenth century, but achieved a strong uptake in the early to mid-twentieth century, and has continued in a cyclical pattern up to the present day. This chapter describes this fascination with the prefab house and discusses some of the complications that have plagued its translation into real outcomes. As the history of twentieth-century architect-led prefabricated housing illustrates, architecture has tended to co-opt industrial advances to support existing ideologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOffsite Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationConstructing the Future
EditorsRyan E. Smith, John D. Quale
Place of PublicationOxon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315743332
ISBN (Print)9781138821378
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this