The prefabricated experiments by Michael Jantzen

The autonomous and self-sufficient housing units of the American architect: from his Californian work M-house to the Domus archive.

The avant-garde gaze of American architect and designer Michael Jantzen has led since the 1970s to the creation of low-energy modular buildings, making high-tech housing his signature line of research: “a real interest in and active enthusiasm for industrial technological innovations and their application to domestic-residential use,” we wrote for the presentation of his Super Insulated Home, published in Domus 633.

On the other hand, for his Californian work M-house, Jantzen concentrated on the possibility of having a prefabricated system, where the various components could be assembled and disassembled several times, with different sizes and shapes.

Michael Jantzen, M-House, California, USA, 1997

But for Jantzen, the emotional potential of the aesthetic result has always taken first place, proposing projects that always hover between an architecture and a work of art. M-house consists of a kit of elements composed mainly of a painted steel structural skeleton and of cement and wood fibre panels. These materials were selected during the construction of the first prototype to maintain a high degree of fire resistance. These structures are potentially designed to be environmentally friendly and easily adaptable to alternative energy systems such as wind and solar.

Michael Jantzen, M-House, California, USA, 1997

In the original configuration, the enclosed spaces are organized around an open central core. The panels, however, can be detached from the support frames so that the spatial configuration can be changed to meet site-specific needs.

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