Prefabricated wooden houses date back to the 19th century, when so-called “kit houses” became popular in North America. Sold by companies like Sears, they offered affordable and convenient housing options, especially for people living in rural areas where labor was scarce and expensive. Customers could choose from a few designs and dimensions, and the kits usually included all the materials needed to build the house, including numbered and precut lumber, nails, shingles, and other necessary components. For some time, however, prefabricated houses were seen as constructions of lesser quality and prestige, and coupled with the lack of flexibility of these solutions, they went into decline.
Nowadays, thanks to the technologies available in the market, modular and prefabricated constructions have emerged as clean, sustainable, and energy-efficient construction solutions. In addition, innovations in engineered wood have emphasized its many uses, with the added benefit of aesthetic and structural possibilities. It was in this context that the office UNA BV developed the Modular 5.5 project, whose goal was to create flexible modular constructions that could be assembled in different arrangements, allowing the construction of houses with a variety of dimensions and needs in different terrains. We spoke with Fernanda Barbara and Fábio Valentim about this project: