Need a house? If you can provide the foundation, module seaming and utility hook-ups, weeHouse can do the rest. Created by Alchemy Architects, weeHouse is a prefabricated modular housing system that can be placed anywhere that is accessible by truck. Available in four standard models designed to suit most sites and lifestyle needs, weeHouse was inspired by sustainable design principles such as building small and efficiently.
The original 435-square-foot weeHouse Studio, with a sleeping area and a bathroom, retails for $79,000 to $89,000. Because of highway and road restrictions, the architects designed a 14-foot wide transportable module that can be snapped together with other modules—like Legos—to make larger homes. Since its inception, the standard weeHouse has evolved into a line of structures that are used as homes, offices and studios. WeeHouse Pair, for example, combines two of the modules for a three-bedroom, 1,450-square-foot home that retails for $185,000 to $209,000.
Most weeHouses are prefabricated in an independently owned factory and trucked to be “set” on site. Each standard weeHouse comes ready-made, with tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring, tile floors and showers, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, EPDM cold roof, primed gypsum board ceilings and walls, electrical and plumbing systems, appliances, fixtures and cabinets. Alchemy will subtract the price of appliances from your home if you prefer to buy local, and the company will customize your weeHouse with greener materials and systems such as active solar, geothermal, green roofs and other solutions as applicable.
WeeHouse meets International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) standards and is stronger than many site-built structures because the frame, doors and windows are secured to withstand being moved and the subfloor and sheetrock are glued and screwed to the frame. Fully insulated with R values of R19 in the walls, R35 in the floor and R44 in the ceiling, the homes have vented roofs that temper extreme heat or cold. Standard exterior siding is corrugated steel, available in many colors and finishes. “Container siding” made of highly durable cement fiberboard with vertical battens, or “corncrib siding,” a horizontal rough-sawn pine rain screen finished with solid or semi-transparent stain, are also available.
“Ideally, we see consumers purchasing modules as customizable, off-the-shelf products,” Scott Ervin of Alchemy Architects told The Wall Street Journal. “Most car and computer manufacturers offer a way to build or customize your own car or computer on their Web site. We are hoping to be able to make enough progress in the next few years toward handling the permitting and volume issues in various locales to allow modern dwellings to be ordered in much the same way as cars and computers.”
The original weeHouse module is 435 square feet. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects
The modules are trucked to the site and "set" in place. Photos courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Bamboo flooring and sliding glass doors are standard features. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects
The efficient design includes a sleeping loft and a curtained-off sleeping area. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects
This weeHouse in Moab, Utah, is by necessity off the grid. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects