Before starting our new company, we both worked at Marmol Radziner Prefab for over 5 years, where Jared served as director of architectural services. While there, we won several national design awards and our homes were written up in numerous magazines such as Dwell, Builder, Newsweek, Time, Architectural Digest (a first ever for a prefab house) and GQ (dubbed “Masterpiece in a Box”). Here are a few links to some of the articles about the homes we worked on while at Marmol Radziner Prefab:
But after spending close to six years working in the prefab world, we saw a lot of problems in the prefab industry as a whole and in particular, the modern design segment that we were part of. We decided to set out to find a better way.
First, we took a step back and looked at the conventional home building industry, which we also spent many years working within. As most of us know who have ever built anything, the conventional home building industry is fraught with problems. It is an industry that basically reinvents the wheel with every new home. And in a globalized, industrialized economy, housing is arguably the last remaining industry that is still completely localized. The process is very complex and time consuming. If you want to build a new, green, modern house, you have to first find and hire an architect whose work you like and who has experience with green building and who is in your local area. You then go through a sequence of long design, engineering, and approval processes. Then you need to find local general contractors in your area whose work you also like and who have experience building green, modern homes. You ask them all to bid on the home, then select a contractor and finally, you start building. Now the fun really starts. Change orders. Rain delays. The electrician (not to single them out -- you get the picture) doesn’t show up. You start to hate your contractor, your architect and you start screaming at strangers for no reason. By the time the dust settles, you are way over budget and way over schedule. This is the status quo of the home building industry. This is not to say that some amazing homes aren’t the result of this process – there are many, many examples. But it’s not for everyone and it’s not for the faint of heart. Prefab is supposed to offer an alternative . . .
But it hasn’t to date, for two main reasons: delivery (reason one) and how it affects cost (reason two). The entire modular industry uses oversized building modules (they think bigger is better) in order to limit the number of modules used to build a house. The problem with this strategy is that to deliver the modules they need specialized trucks and special permits and routes to use the road. When all is said and done, delivery costs can be staggering. To ship an industry standard sized building module across the nation costs over $20,000. To ship one overseas costs over $80,000! A typical prefab home of five building modules would cost over $100,000 to deliver cross country and over a whopping $400,000 to deliver it overseas. The result? Modular homes are cost prohibitive if they need to be delivered outside a 200 mile radius from the factory. So these factories become localized, just like conventional homebuilding. This is the status quo of the modular home building industry.
We realized that everything we just told you is crazy. So we spent the past two years developing a patent pending modular system that cuts delivery costs by close to 90%. If you like one of our homes (we hope you do!), we can send it to you, wherever you are, without breaking the bank. Drawing on our previous prefab experience, we designed our prefab system and our homes to be simple, smart and efficient. Typical prefab systems complete only 55% of the house in the factory. We complete over 90%. This maximizes the efficiencies from building in a controlled factory setting and better controls costs.
This is not to say that we are perfect; we aren’t. But we recognize these issues and want to confront them head on, not hide behind the status quo.
We want to make great homes. Our mission is to deliver modern homes that are affordable, green and available wherever you are.
- We are architects with many years of experience designing and building modern, prefab homes and continually strive to find the simplicity within the complexities of home building.
- We try to be smart and efficient about our designs and have our homes connect people to the outdoors.
- We have done all the green homework so you don’t have to.
- We believe that homes with smaller footprints, both ecologically and literally, make a lot of sense.
- We use a patent pending modular system that enables us to ship our homes anywhere in the world at a fraction of the cost of standard modular homes.
- We know that building a new house is a big deal. And a big investment. We are dedicated to serving the customer and making it as smooth a process as possible.
- We do not use repurposed or retrofitted shipping containers. They contain a lot of toxic materials, are very difficult to re-purpose, and really aren’t meant for habitation.
- We do not offer a kit of parts or panelized homes. We believe that then asking your local general contractor to put it all together and assemble the parts on site doesn’t make sense and in the end will lead to more headaches and higher costs.
- We won’t have you talk to sales people who aren’t architects or designers about your new home and the home building process.
JARED LEVY | CO-FOUNDER
Jared Levy co-founded Connect:Homes to offer an affordable alternative for those looking to live with great design and experience a better way of building. The inefficiencies within conventional home building lead to a process for both architect and owner that is too difficult and time consuming– Levy wanted to simplify these complexities, streamline the entire process and challenge the status quo.
As the Director of Architectural Services at Marmol Radziner Prefab, and an instrumental player in the launch of the company, Levy oversaw the design and fabrication of close to 40,000 square feet of modern, innovative and highly customized prefab homes. Due to high transportation costs, he realized that modular homes could only be cost effectively delivered to those who lived within a 200-mile radius of the factory, let alone across the country or overseas. Transporting modules inexpensively was a challenge Levy felt he could overcome.
His work has appeared in numerous publications including Time, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Wired, Architectural Review and GQ as well as winning design honors and awards from Sunset-AIA Western Home Awards, American Institute of Architects, Green Dot, ID Magazine and AFLA Design Green Awards. Levy has a Bachelor of Arts, BSA in Architecture, from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Architecture, from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
GORDON STOTT| CO-FOUNDER
Gordon Stott is proud to launch Connect:Homes with his partner, Jared Levy, to seamlessly incorporate the efficiencies of factory production and the elegance of product design into the world of home building. Stott worked on the prefab team at Marmol Radziner Prefab during the housing boom and watched the company open its own factory. He was impressed with the conveniences prefab offered, and yet discouraged with how financially unattainable modern prefab homes were for the average American.
With an architectural background from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Stott draws upon the basic tenets he learned in school: good design should solve problems elegantly, clearly and efficiently. Stott believes that closing the gap between "architecture as art" and "products as design" will be the trend in home building.
His award winning work has been published in Dwell, Architectural Record, ID and Metropolis Magazines. Stott also teaches as an adjunct professor at the Woodbury University School of Architecture, Los Angeles.