Plant Prefab’s latest factory-built offerings are big on sustainability, Scandi vibes

Just In Time For Summer

Plant Prefab’s latest factory-built offerings are big on sustainability, Scandi vibes

Koto LivingHome 2 from Plant Prefab, a minimalist abode that sticks out from the factory-built pack. (Courtesy Koto Design)

Timed to coincide with this year’s Earth Day, Plant Prefab, the sustainability-focused factory spinoff of venerable Californian prefabricated home design and development company LivingHomes, has unveiled two fresh dwellings as part of a new design partnership with modular architecture studio Koto. While LivingHomes has garnered a reputation for developing modern prefab homes designed by an array of top-flight architects including KieranTimberlake, Brooks + Scarpa, and the late Ray Kappe (plus a housing crisis-minded 2018 ADU collaboration with Yves Béhar), its teaming with Koto marks the first time the company has worked with a firm/designer based outside the United States.

With offices on the southwest coast of England and in Northern Ireland, Koto took a distinctly Scandinavian approach to modular home design; clean yet cozy, earthy yet cutting-edge, and possessing a strong connection to the natural world with plenty of natural light and ventilation. Plant Prefab’s Koto LivingHomes—available in two sculptural models that seem best suited for windswept beaches and craggy hillsides—are two of the more well-composed prefab homes to hit the market as of late.

exterior of a modern prefab home designed by plant prefab
Featuring a compact courtyard that further brings the outside in, Koto LivingHome 1 is the larger of Plant Prefab’s two new deep-green offerings. (Courtesy Koto)
interior illustration of a modern prefab home
Plant Prefab’s Koto LivingHomes are designed to take full advantage of cross-ventilation and natural sunlight. (Courtesy Koto)

The Koto LivingHome comes in two models. The larger is a courtyard-oriented four-bedroom structure dubbed Piha (Finnish for “courtyard”) that measures 2,184 square feet. Yksi (Finnish for “first) is a cantilevered two-bedroom residence—in renderings, it appears as a moody nouveau surf cottage for the British seaside—that’s roughly half the size. Per a press release, both pared-down homes embrace a “characteristic Scandinavian design” that eschews fussy design details while maximizing “light, space, and connectivity to nature” and “facilitating comfortable, biophilic living with a minimum carbon footprint.”

A smaller carbon footprint is standard with all Plant Prefab-built homes, and the Koto line wants to cut that down even further. Like all customizable LivingHomes, the Koto models are built to be net-zero and include the standard sustainable bells and whistles: Super-efficient heating and cooling systems, low-flow fixtures, recycled insulation, LED lighting, smart energy monitoring systems, and so on. But with the Koto LivingHomes, Plant Prefab opted to up the ante by pledging to work, along with Koto, to ensure that homeowners orient their new homes in a manner that maximizes energy efficiency.

Using as much carbon-sequestering wood in its construction as possible, Koto LivingHomes are factory-built using the patented Plant Building System, an efficiency-boosting hybrid method that combines modular units with panelized components, or “Plant Panels” that include integrated plumbing, electrical, and other necessary infrastructure.

exterior illustration of a modern prefab home from Plant Prefab
Not your average Finnish-influenced, British-designed, Southern California-built sustainable prefab home. (Courtesy Koto)

Both Koto LivingHomes are now available for purchase directly through Plant Prefab, and range in price from $419,000 to $830,400 and up. As a provider of residential housing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Plant Prefab’s factory is still up-and-running in accordance with California law.