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The Origin of the Modular Home


The terms “starter” or “transient” homes were the first step for this type of construction. A manufactured home is defined as a modular building referring to several types of construction systems, or a home that is totally or partially constructed or assembled at the factory.


The concept of the modular building has evolved over time, and can be traced back to 1908, when Sears, Roebuck and Co. Introduced ready-to-assemble kit houses in their catalogue. In the years leading to WWII, Sears sold an estimated 75,000 to working and middle class families, and to a lesser extent to wealthier ones seeking a low-cost holiday home.


After the War, the British government used modular buildings to rebuild in areas devastated by the bombings. Many of these homes outlived their initial 10-year life expectancy, lasting over 40 years.


At the time, the life expectancy for these homes was estimated at 10 years. Sixty-two years after, the British government has designated 21 of these houses on the Excalibur property as of “historic importance”.


Habitat 67, a modern community and housing complex in Montreal, Canada, was commissioned for Expo 67, the World’s Fair held from April to October 1967. Designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, the remarkable housing project showcases the full potential of modular housing and is widely considered an architectural Canadian landmark.


Now, many hotels are using modular for their new constructions. For example, the world’s tallest modular hotel – which will carry a brand of Marriott International – is on track to be stacked in late fall 2019 in New York City with prefabricated and pre-furnished guestrooms. Once erected over a 90-day period, the 360-foot-tall tower will represent a milestone for Marriott’s ongoing initiative to encourage hotel developers in North America to embrace modular for new construction projects.

We also see developing projects in Asia, where Toyota Housing has sold over 100,000 houses in Japan in the course of 37 years and expends its sales to Indonesia. Toyota Housing is a housing development company established by Toyota Motor Corporation. The company apply the advanced technology it has developed in its automotive manufacture to the field of housing construction, to provide high quality modular houses.





Canadian Housing Observer, 2013