Always on the hunt for DADU inspiration, RF recently sent me an article about this backyard building. It was short and the photo was ti-ny, but I could sense that there was something interesting going on. A little internet sleuthing led me to ASUL, experts in mass customization. No, I didn’t know what that meant either…but I’m learning.
ASUL was founded on the idea that technological advances paired with creative design solutions allow for more affordable product customization. Enter, mass customization – a design theory rooted in four elements: customization, affordability, predictability, sustainability. Customers want designs based on their site, locality, lifestyle, and aesthetic, but the traditional architect model is too cost prohibitive. Predictability is an added affordability concern, since construction projects are notorious for blown budgets. Plus, an interest in preserving the environment means clients value sustainable design practices and materials.
ASUL’s response is an adaptable system that produces custom homes for 20-40% less than the traditional paradigm. Their systems-based design process connects a kit of parts to modular suppliers to create custom homes that clients love.
The company worked with Savannah-based CSCP Consult to build this project: Think Tank. Thought many of ASUL’s projects are much larger homes, their work is equally suited to this comfortable, 320 sq ft , backyard home office.
ASUL’s system allows for easy customization and can be adapted to any type of site. This Savannah, Georgia home sits within a FEMA-regulated flood zone, so modular design perfectly suited the unique requirements of elevating new construction. The structure rests on six-foot stilts and has a 16’ x 20’ interior that can be used as a library, study or office space.
Construction work included building a light-gauge steel frame, wall insulation, floors and ceiling cavities, interior solar shades with 5% light penetration, recessed LED lighting and a galvalume (steel with an anti-corrosive coating) skin. Sustainability was addressed in a number of ways, including interior floor tiles composed of 44% recycled content. Additionally, some of the furniture and lighting fixtures, like chairs , tables and lamps, were found on eBay.
The exterior styling is sleek, with steel stairs leading to a covered cantilevered deck. There is plenty of light, thanks to large windows, but the separation from the main house creates a calm work environment. The on-site build was quick – only about three weeks.