Taking Stock

Yves Béhar debuts a prefab housing system for California

Architecture News West
Tech entrepreneur Yves Béhar collaborated with LivingHomes to design a prefabricated housing system that could help solve California's affordable housing crisis. (Courtesy Fuseproject)
Tech entrepreneur Yves Béhar collaborated with LivingHomes to design a prefabricated housing system that could help solve California's affordable housing crisis. (Courtesy Fuseproject)

Yves Béhar, the storied tech entrepreneur and founder of San Francisco–based design firm Fuseproject, is set to release a new model for a fully-customizable prefabricated housing unit aimed at alleviating California’s housing crisis. According to designboom, his latest design venture, a collaboration with Los Angeles–based LivingHomes and their Plant Prefab studio, will revolutionize small living for low-density cities.

Launching tomorrow, the LivingHomes YB1 model was designed as a response to the state’s recent decision to loosen restrictions on building accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Over the past year, homeowner applications for backyard homes have rapidly increased due to the new law. Béhar and his team have developed a ready-made house that can be bought at a reduced price and built on-site in under two months.

Rendering of Yves Behar LivingHomes YB1

The design of each model can be adapted to the climate where it’s being constructed. Clients can choose pitched roofs for cold-weather locales or flat roofs to accommodate solar panels in warmer areas. (Courtesy Fuseproject)

Per the firm’s website, YB1 homes will range in size from 250 to 1,250 square feet and are easily customizable according to the client’s goals. Each home is built on a 4-foot grid allowing homeowners to reconfigure structural elements such as the roofline, the size and location of its windows, as well as the layout of the interior and the cladding material. The appliances, HVAC system, and all utilities will come pre-installed. Individual models can also be specified to fit the location and climate where they’re built; clients can select sustainable products and integrate smart home capabilities into their units to save energy.

Rendering of Yves Behar LivingHomes YB1

Homeowners can reconfigure the interior layout of their buildings and determine the size and location of the windows as well as the exterior cladding elements. (Courtesy Fuseproject)

Right now, YB1 costs $280,000 total and takes 6-8 weeks to order, plan, and fully install. Béhar plans to launch a future line of “sub-$100,000 homes” through LivingHomes. Fuseproject describes the project as Behár’s attempt to “think systematically about buildings, rather than as a one-size fits all solution.”

LivingHome YB1 is Béhar’s first project involving housing and arguably the largest-in-scale that he’s ever backed. 

Rendering of Yves Behar LivingHomes YB1

Homes range in size from 250 to 1,250 square feet. (Courtesy Fuseproject)

While he’s served as a staple of Silicon Valley, has garnered major commissions, and helped pave the way for tech giants today, Béhar’s projects haven’t always been universally well-received recently and his latest products have been faulted for their lack of usefulness. The designer’s recent ventures include highly-criticized and controversial products like Edyn, a digital garden sensor, Juicero, a $700 juicing machine, as well as Samsung’s Frame TV, which displays digital art for a hefty price tag. With YB1, Behar stands to make a difference in the housing market.

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