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New To Market: Prefab Rental in Culver City

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The latest prefab from Los Angeles-based Sander Architects, this one-bedroom, one-bath, 1,000 square foot rental is described as being a "stunning new 'green' loft on a tree-lined cul-de-sac in a beautiful residential neighborhood just blocks from downtown Culver City, Sony Studios, Helms District, and Hayden Tract. Bamboo floors, soaring ceilings, walk-in closet and secure, private entrance." What you're looking at: There are two units: the available rental in the front by the street (above the carport) and then the house (not for rent). Cost: $2,300 per month. Photos of the thing being constructed are here.

Text about the home via the home via the Sander Architecture's web site:

Residence for a Briard came out of conversations with the owners who found an old bungalow in Culver City and initially considered a renovation. After discussions with architect Whitney Sander they realized that they could take advantage of his Hybrid House to build a ground-up duplex for only slightly more than the proposed reno budget.

The gauntlet they threw down: to build the greenest house that had ever come out of the Sander practice.

The challenge: a very tight budget.

The third issue was Hobbes, the Briard for whom the home is named: not only a huge dog but a huge factor that influenced everything from stair design to finishing materials. This is an instance when it was important that a design “go to the dogs.”

Hybrid House was one of the things that attracted the clients to the Sander. The firm’s strong design reputation was important too as the client is one of the founders of the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles.

The short list: very modern, very green, very dog friendly.

Residence for a Briard is the greenest Hybrid House ever built. Strategies and materials include: greywater systems, passive heating and cooling strategies, cistern to capture rainwater for watering landscaping, recycled blue jean insulation, sunflower seed wall board, bamboo flooring, marmoleum, structural steel frames from recycled steel, and more.

Residence for a Briard is a 3,800sf house that is the first example of Hybrid House, the invention of Sander Architects, LLC. Its structural frames and exterior walls and roof are all prefabricated off-site by warehouse manufacturers and shipped to the site in pieces on one flat-bed truck. This entire shell cost $22,000. These pieces then bolt together like an erector set in three weeks time. Once the shell is complete all interior walls, systems and finishes are completed in a traditional manner. The resulting Hybrid House is therefore custom designed for the client, the site, and local codes, at a small fraction of standard construction cost. The completed cost of Residence for a Briard is $500,000, or $130/sf.

Equally important for a designer: the warehouse frames allow the scale of the interior spaces to be magnificent. Residence for a Briard has 28’ ceilings in the great room. The system is also very simple to erect – the general contractor had never worked with it before and he became an enthusiastic convert.

The facade derives from a painting of a violin by Braque ("Aria of Bach,' 1913). This was especially appropriate as the client is also a music critic. As such, he requested that the house be a place where string quartets could come and play for an audience. So we provided the house with a great room surrounded by a suspended balcony. The long side of this balcony is a shallow stairway with long treads that are wide enough for two chairs side-by-side facing the performance area below. Beyond this is a flat, large landing where additional chairs can be placed. The handrails for both these areas are transparent glass, with grasses laminated into the glass below eye level.

As well, the home makes extensive use of ecological/sustainable materials, systems and strategies, making this one of the greenest residences built in California to date. (See attached notes.)

We aimed to create an eco-friendly Case Study House for the 21st Century using construction strategies that radically reduce standard construction costs for custom homes. These strategies include the use of prefabricated structural frames and components, which allows for a construction cost far lower than competing fully-prefab modern homes.

Project cost: $500,000

3,800sf at +/-$130sf (includes site prep, foundation, hookups, all construction hard costs.)
· Sander Architects [VOA]