2 or (3...) Questions for Resolution: 4 Architecture
by Harry / December 15, 2011

This series is brought to you by Autodesk BIM - Removing the Barriers to Better Business. Here's the fouth in a series of interviews with prefab architects and builders to take the pulse of prefab. This interview is with Joseph Tanney, one of the founders (with Robert Luntz) of New York-based Resolution: 4 Architecture. Above, Mountain Retreat in the Catskills.

(Click the images below for full sized images)

We've read that Resolution: 4's approach to prefab is "systematic", can you tell us more?

We've developed a system of design, we call the Modern Modular, which is a process, a methodology of design developed over time (based on research and experience), that leverages existing methods of residential prefabrication, predominately the modular delivery method.


RES4 Modern Modular typologies

The Modern Modular is based on conceptual building blocks called Modules Of Use. these are comprised of Communal modules of use (kitchen / dining / living) and Private modules of use (bedrooms / bathrooms). Actual modules of implementation are fabricated of standard building components, composed and arranged specifically to each client, site, and budget.


House on Sunset Ridge

The 2008 real estate bubble, how has prefab at Resolution 4 fared since then?

Although we have seen things slow down all around us, our prefab work has actually picked up. We have a number of projects currently in the works, on the boards, in the factory, and recently completed.


ZIMWEX (aka Swingline)

Prefab in the USA appears to have settled into the quality-construction-in-remote/difficult-site niche (among others),has that been the case for Resolution 4?

We have completed a number of projects in very remote locations, and using a modular delivery method was helpful. For example, in the mountains of West Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont, where we were completely off the grid. We've also completed several projects located on islands, where we needed to deliver the boxes by barge that was pulled by a tug boat. Although we have done work in rather rural sites, most of our work is located closer to developed areas, and one even in the Bronx. Often our prefab work replaces an existing home that has outlived its performative life-cycle, like the one we're currently designing in the suburbs of Bethesda, Maryland. We've found it to be more cost effective to simply replace the existing home than to renovate.


Bronx Box

Is prefab at Resolution 4 evolving? If yes, in which way(s)?

We have been fortunate to have designed over 120 RES4 prefabs from Maine to Hawaii, using modular, panelized, and hybrid deliver methods. Our prefab work continues to evolve with each project we complete, in both very general and specific ways. Our relationships with our fulfillment partners continue to evolve in terms of expectations and quality control. Not only do we continue to learn about efficiencies of production, but also we've been able to introduce new aspects relative the fabrication process as we continue experiment.

Our evolution has been focused on improving the efficiency of use (design), efficiency of implementation (construction), and the efficiency of performance (energy production). We have recently completed several homes that use a co-generational system of solar photovoltaic and geothermal, producing more energy than the homes actual need, thus selling excess energy back to the grid.


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