MEELENA TURKEL: I think one of the reasons that we started Turkel Design was we wanted
to promote a different type of building.
JOEL TURKEL: We wanted to create homes that were widely accessible, but that didn't
sacrifice design or quality in the process of being delivered via systems.
MEELENA: There are several advantages to building a prefab home. There's a predictability
of quality and of time and of cost.
JOEL: That allows us to put together a highly
flexible building, virtually anywhere in a relatively short period of time.
But there also a number of environmental benefits. When you're building something
in a factory environment, you are using a local labor pool that has to travel a
limited distance. You are reducing waste. You are cutting a board for one job and
using the rest of it on another job. So you can have all sorts of controls in
place, which make it more environmentally friendly.
MEELENA: What we're hoping to achieve with this home is to challenge ourselves to use
new products and test them in a way that allows us to create new standards that
we can then apply to our future clients.
JOEL: This is the first home that we've done
that's comprised completely of engineered wood products. What it means
is that we're using wood and wood byproducts that would otherwise go to
waste or be turned into paper and we're making a home out of it.
It has a very small footprint. Different attributes of the home
quite literally transform to allow it to live larger.
It's also the first time that we're creating a completely fossil-fuel-free site.
The house runs on photovoltaic electricity that's generated here.
We never need to buy fossil fuels again.
MEELENA: The floors are concrete which, provides a thermal mass, which helps keep the
building warm in the winter and keeps it cool and summer.
The area of the great room is shaded by the solar panels,
and the rest of the roof is reflective.
We sized the overhangs to ensure that we don't get any direct sunlight on the
windows during the overheated period; thereby reducing the amount of air
conditioning that we need to use in the home.
JOEL: We're trying to exhibit in the house that the combination of all of these
things can feel very much like high quality home.
It doesn't have to feel like an experiment.
MEELENA: I think my time at MIT provided me with the confidence to
always search for another solution. You keep pushing
because you know there has to be a better way.
JOEL: We started the practice predicated on a belief that there is a better way
to design and build and deliver homes for people to live in.
MEELENA: It's a different kind of practice model. It's great to be involved in that.
JOEL: We are interrogating it, improving it, and iterating on it constantly.
I think it's born out of a method of
problem solving that was grown at MIT.