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商业 - 房地产

可以折叠的房子

Brian Dumaine 2013年06月24日

美国初创公司Blu Homes推出的预制式环保房屋可以折叠起来,装上一辆18轮卡车,大大地简化了预制式房屋的运输。不过,它的房子可不便宜。一套四十平米出头的房子就要13万美元,而且还不包括地基。

    预制式房屋早已有之:上个世纪之交,人们就可以从西尔斯公司(Sears)的产品目录中订购组装房。但没过多久,它们就获得了粗制滥造、设计不讨人喜欢的声誉(想一想拖车式住宅)。新一代的建筑师和设计师则认为,我们没有理由设计不出样子好看、质量可靠的预制式房屋。

    事实证明,预制或许是最环保的建房方式。在工厂建造房屋可以减少浪费——工厂可以精确测量、切割材料。此外,只需几周时间,一栋预制式建筑就可拔地而起——这样就不必劳烦工人耗费数月时间,驾驶着喷涌温室气体的卡车奔赴建设工地了。今年早些时候,在《财富》杂志(Fortune)主办的头脑风暴绿色会议上,Blu Homes公司创始人兼CEO比尔•哈尼指出了预制式房屋的另一个优点:“没人能够按时或者按照预算建造一栋传统住宅。《今日心理学》(Psychology Today)援引一项研究称,建造房屋比失去挚爱的人更令人痛苦。”

    哈尼为他的预制式环保房屋增添了某种高科技元素。Blu Homes公司应用麻省理工学院(MIT)开发的技术,设计出使用钢架结构、可以像一张轻便小桌那样绕着铰链折叠的现代建筑。如今,大多数预制式房屋必须依靠宽敞的负载卡车运送。这种过于庞大的卡车无法在许多道路行驶,必须由护送车押运才行,从而导致非常高昂的运输费用。相比之下,一栋“蓝色之家”(Blue Home)能够折叠起来装入一辆18轮卡车,这样就可以相对廉价而容易地把房屋运出这家公司位于加州瓦列霍市的工厂。

    另一项优势是,为了方便卡车运输,传统的预制式房屋需要装成四四方方的模块,从而限制了房间大小和天花板高度。“蓝色之家”完全可以是一栋拥有教堂式穹顶的大房子。

    从465平方英尺(约合43平米)的Origin(售价13万美元,不包括地基和现场准备)到3,000平方英尺的Breeze(优雅的加州现代风格住宅,起价54万美元),这家公司推出的房屋面积不等。在房屋的环保性方面,Blu Homes公司使用无废气排放材料(包括低挥发性、甚至完全没有挥发性的有机涂料),以及不含甲醛的材料。这些房屋高度隔热,而且配有太阳能电池板,从而能够大幅降低能源成本。

    这家公司已经募集了6,900万美元,投资者包括迪士尼家族和斯堪的纳维亚投资公司斯卡恩集团(Skagen Group)。公司预计今年可以在全美各地销售超过100套房屋。Blu Homes(目前还没有盈利)表示,它去年的预定销售额达到了4,000万美元,今年则有望突破7,000万美元。问及有什么让他夜不能寐时,哈尼回答说:“我最担心的问题是能不能在高速发展的同时保持产品的质量。”这也是许多CEO都要面对的一个重大问题。(财富中文网)

    译者:任文科

    Prefab houses have been around forever -- at the turn of the last century you could order a kit house from the Sears catalogue -- but they soon achieved a reputation for shoddy workmanship and unappealing design (think trailer-style homes). A new generation of architects and designers have decided that there's no reason prefab houses can't look great and be of high quality.

    Turns out, prefab may be the most environmentally friendly way to build a house. When a house is built in a factory there's less waste -- materials can be precision measured and cut -- plus a prefab structure can be erected within a couple of weeks -- avoiding months and months of workmen driving greenhouse gas spewing trucks to the site. One speaker at Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference earlier this year, Bill Haney -- founder and CEO of Blu Homes, cited another advantage of prefab housing: "No one can build a traditional house on time or on budget. Psychology Today cited a study that said it's more painful to build a house than it is to have a loved one die."

    Haney has added a high-tech element to his prefab green houses. Applying technology developed at MIT, Blu Homes designs its modern structures using steel frames that fold on hinges much like a card table. Today, most prefab homes must be delivered at great expense on wide-load trucks that are too big to travel on many roads and have to be accompanied by escort cars. A Blue Home, by contrast, can be folded up to fit on an 18-wheeler, allowing the house to be shipped relatively cheaply and easily from the company's factory in Vallejo, Calif.

    Another advantage: Because traditional prefab houses are shipped in boxy modules that need to fit on a truck, there's a limit on the size of rooms and heights of ceilings. A Blu Home can unfold into large rooms with soaring cathedral ceilings.

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