Prefab Phillip Island Subservient To Its Location

  • August 1st, 2017

Words from
One moment on a wildly exposed coastal site at Phillip Island, there were just some scratchings in the dirt, some footings and preparative plumbing work.

By the end of the same day, the components of a long, lean, four-bedroom house were in situ, requiring only cosmetic stitching together to complete a new home of very pure and very boxy form.

Semi-trailers delivered the seven separate components of the zinc and Pacific teak-clad building and, apart from the oak flooring, says Modscape’s Jan Gyrn, all the fixtures, fittings and finishes were complete.
Luxurious dining area looking out to ocean

Gyrn, managing director of Modscape, which 10 years ago was one of the first Australian companies to begin operating in the pre-fabricated build space — by which building parts for residential and commercial are made in a factory — says the clients for this house on a blustery bit of the Bass Strait coast had asked for a house that would “be very still internally”.

“When the wind rips in down there it’s vicious,” he says, “and they didn’t want a house that moved or whistled or rattled or shuddered.”

Specified with marine-grade materials and double-glazed windows, Gyrn says the couple agreed the structure be set parallel to the land contours “and exposed to the maximum views available” and opted for the comfort of monitoring their house’s construction in Modscape’s Brooklyn factory, rather than visit the site. This meant they only had to wait 12 weeks to see their holiday abode become a three-dimensional reality.

“That even the fireplace was ready says it all,” he reckons. “And that’s now an amazing place to sit and watch the view”.

The 40 metre long building that has a wood-screened rear courtyard — further sheltered by a garage that also came on a truck, the panels of which were delivered pre-made — has an epic wooden deck along its western frontage that exacerbates the starkness of its unadorned form; a form that is subservient to the location.

Modular homes in Victoria - Phillip Island, by Modscape

“They didn’t want a landscaped site, so the building is just sitting on the land. That makes the deck their landscape.”

While Modscape still makes simple, one room pre-fab cabins for about $150,000, Gyrn says the Phillip Island house is the company’s 300th delivered build “and while big for a holiday house, it’s about the typical size of the houses we make”.

Gyrn says many clients spend up to $1 million on their pre-made residences.

At about 3 percent of the market, the modular house industry in Australia is relatively small compared to Europe and Asia. But Gyrn says that as more sophisticated products such as this house are unveiled, “and as Australia rapidly catches up, the forecast is that by 2027 modular houses will be about 10 percent of the market”.

Words from –