2021 RDAA | Custom on the Boards | Midcentury Modern | DPZ CoDesign

Andres Duany has made it his mission to come up with an affordable housing model that hits the sweet spot between stigmatized manufactured homes and site-built houses. The factory-permitted Midcentury Modern is his solution: a stylish, 1,865-square-foot house deliverable by tractor-trailer and built for $90 per square foot. That’s midpoint between mobile units typically built for $50 a square foot and site-constructed homes starting around $130 per square foot. “That’s a big gap, and no one was delivering it,” Andres says. “But we still had a cultural problem. We undertook the idea that people hate mobile homes but love container housing. Much to our surprise, what we got was Philip Johnson houses from the 1960s, that Midcentury Modern box.”

DPZ’s flat-roofed, shipping container-style design exposes the floating foundation, made of concrete T-beams that balance the structure on four points. Banks of sliding glass walls open to decks on both sides. Deployable awnings, which cover the glazing during transport, can double as hurricane shutters. Inside are three bedroom suites, three and a half baths, a laundry, kitchen, dining room, and living room. The design is adaptable to different numbers of bedrooms, and on a site plan, the units can be rotated so that each has a private yard and a two-car carport.

Essentially, Andres says, “we designed mobile homes that look like containers. By trying to look like conventional houses, mobile homes are seen as an inferior product, with shallow roofs and stupid narrow ends. We married the technology of one to the aesthetic of the other.”

Custom on the Boards


DPZ CoDesign
Midcentury Modern
Saginaw County, Michigan

Project Credits

Architect: Andres Duany, DPZ CoDesign, Miami

Engineer: Paul Crabtree, Crabtree Group, Salida, Colorado

Project Size: 1,860 square feet

Site Size: .01 acre

Construction Cost: $90 per square foot

Key Products

Cladding: Board-and-batten vinyl

Decking: Zuri

Flooring: COREtec Plus, 5-inch plank, Gold Coast acacia

Foundation: Precast T-Rail concrete footings

Roof framing: 2×10 joists

Roofing: EPDM synthetic rubber

Thermal and moisture barriers:
Liquid-applied WRB

Windows: Western Window Systems


Plans and Drawings


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