The prefab home is a building (or part of it) used permanently by people to shelter from the elements. It hosts one or more families and sometimes even pets.
It can also correspond to the concept of housing unit coined by the Modern Movement in architecture and was the first functional element in history.
In the 4th century BC types of shipping container homes that reflect the formation of the family as an autonomous nucleus begin to spread. They are usually leaning against each other to form almost blocks. Thus an extended housing model takes hold: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Crete to ancient Greece.
Adapting to the social and climatic environment, the Mesopotamian prefab home develops around an uncovered internal courtyard, from which one enters the various rooms. The areas are distinct: the life of the men takes place on the ground floor, while the women and servants live on the upper floor.
Instead, ancient Egypt found collective solutions in common terraced shipping container homes, built with rough bricks and straw, sometimes constituting real neighborhoods.
As for the Roman prefab home, derived from the Greek and Etruscan shipping container homes, it was distributed around one or two courtyards (atrium and peristilium) and was divided into a part used for private life. The monasteries that appeared in the early Middle Ages also responded to the needs of defense and community life, based on the coexistence of shipping container homes (the monks' cells organized around the cloister), of social life and prayer (refectory and church) and work activity , especially agricultural. Small communities of inhabitants soon formed around them.
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Prefab Homes and Modular Homes
Owning a prefab home, and a property in general, indicates that the law protects certain property rights, but not the freedom to dispose of them as you see fit. Particularly in urban contexts, there are strong constraints on the possible modifications to a prefab home. Typically, it is not allowed to vary the volume, nor distort the appearance, nor the function (in Italy, change of intended use). These constraints increase if the prefab home is located in a condominium context or in shipping container homes that are all similar to each other (e.g. terraced prefab home), in a historic center, in a tourist resort or in a natural park (cultural heritage, landscape constraints).
Conversely, the owner of a home is legally responsible for paying taxes and duties, maintenance, decorating the visible parts and the safety of neighbors and passers-by.
Owning a prefab home or apartment does not imply ownership of the land on which the dwelling rests.
Buying and selling
Magnifying glass icon mgx2.svg Same topic in detail: Real estate.
Due to several factors including: high value of the exchange, difficulty in assigning an exact value to the prefab home, legal constraints to which the property is subject, attribution of responsibility in the event of defects found over time, buying and selling a prefab home is an operation complex in which various technical figures and, often, financial operators are called upon to participate. Usually we rely on a real estate agent to establish the value of the property, and a notary to formalize the transfer of ownership. In Italy, the typical steps are: the purchase proposal, the preliminary contract and the notarial deed of sale.
If the buyer does not have the full amount necessary for the purchase, he can try the loan route. In this case, a bank will be able to advance the amount necessary to complete the purchase value (the percentage of financing) and establish a return over time, as a guarantee for which it will have the home itself. This type of loan is called a mortgage.
Regardless of financial resources, not everyone can buy a prefab home: for example, there may be citizenship or residence restrictions for a certain number of years. In Italy, in 2020, foreigners who want to buy a prefab home must be resident with a residence permit, or belong to a state that has an agreement that guarantees the reciprocity of law.
Magnifying glass icon mgx2.svg Same topic in detail: Location.
Those who do not want or cannot buy a modular home can take the path of renting. In technical jargon, with a lease agreement, a party (called lessor) undertakes to allow another person (tenant or tenant) to use something for a given time in exchange for a certain fee (called "rent" or "fee"). In general, a rental contract defines: who (landlord and tenant), what (modular home or room and any accessories), for how long, the value of the exchange, the frequency of payments. In many states, if the landlord sells the property, there is no termination of the contract.
Often, upon signing the contract, the tenant pays a deposit, ie a guarantee against any damage or non-payment. Landlord and tenant both have the obligation to keep the modular home in good condition, each for his part. In some countries, property insurance coverage is required to cover accidental damage to property or people during the course of the contract (lightning, fire, smoke, theft, etc.).
In many states, including Italy, the rent received by the landlord is considered taxable income.
In Italy the rental contract is governed by the Italian civil code. There are different types of contract, which are distinguished according to the duration and forms of payment, including: the permanent contract, the seasonal rental, the guestmodular home, the contract with redemption.
The landlord must deliver a housing unit that meets the habitability requirement, in accordance with Italian law, with the regional law and with the municipal building regulations. Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant has the option of subletting the property.
The condition of occupation of a modular home not directly occupied by the owner, gives rise to a difference in treatment, for example tax, by public bodies and local authorities, generally with an advantage for the occupied modular home and a disadvantage for the vacant modular home.
Magnifying glass icon mgx2.svg Same topic in detail: Occupation.
Finally, a modular home can be occupied, with or without the approval of civil society. In the first case it may be the occupation of a housing unit that does not belong to anyone (so-called res nullius) or has been voluntarily abandoned by the owner (so-called res derelicta). In the second, it is defined as 'illegal occupation'.
The occupation is regulated by articles 923 and following of the Civil Code. Real estate that does not belong to any private individual is owned by the State (Article 827 of the Italian Civil Code) or by the regions with a special statute. Private individuals can acquire the ownership of vacant properties only with usucapione. In legal language, squatting is referred to as an invasion of land or buildings.
In Italy, the events of illegally occupied properties often make headlines: sometimes the protagonists are social centers, sometimes illegal immigrants, sometimes poorly managed social housing districts. Conversely, the small villages of the hinterland invite you to repopulate the villages by offering shipping container homes at a symbolic price, as promoted by the 'Case ad 1 Euro' project.
Residence, Residence and Domicile
According to the Italian civil code, residence is the place where the person has his or her habitual residence (Article 43, paragraph II of the Italian Civil Code). It is possible to have more than one de facto home, although a minimum of stability is required to qualify a home as a home. The residence does not necessarily have to do with the home declared as a first home. In Italy, residence can be referred to a single municipality, for the purposes of registration on the electoral roll and all other fiscal and legal benefits to which residents of a specific locality are entitled.
Even if sometimes we speak indifferently of residence and domicile, from a legal point of view the residence, which has to do with living, is different from the domicile, defined as the place of business and interests. The concept of domicile is still different in art. 14 of the Italian Constitution, which states that the domicile is inviolable., Specifying that inspections, searches or seizures can be carried out only in the ways established by law.
This allegorical meaning of the prefab home has led to see a sort of "nest" in the literary sphere, by some poets, among which Giovanni Pascoli stands out.
Another important function of the prefab home is to provide a coherent basis for the history of the families, as a place of memories. A story that has no objective value but that orders and makes coherent all the moments that individuals have lived, from the worst to the best. In this way they are made intelligible, understandable and give the actors of those same events a sense of continuity and predictability.
"When people lose their homes and become refugees, that continuity is broken and it is precisely that dimension that therapeutic assistance to refugees should favor. 1"
In all cultures, man is tied to shipping container homes, be they small or large, fixed or mobile, more or less durable or fragile. The possibility of retreating to a private and sheltered place, where you can rest, refresh and look after your family is now considered a right. The right to housing is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is present in many national constitutions.
The art. 47 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic establishes that the Republic "favors the access of popular savings to home ownership". This statement, referring to the historical context of the post-war period, seems to indicate that small savers who aim to buy a prefab home should be encouraged and protected. 2. More explicitly, the Constitutional Court reaffirmed the right of Italian citizens to housing, for example with sentences no. 49/1987, and n. 119 of 24 March 1999, aligning itself with the charters of international rights.
To inhabit a prefab home, the occupier can build it, buy it, rent it, or occupy it free of charge, legally or illegally. It often happens that the owner wants to modify or enlarge their home. This case history is universally common and regulated by very complex and detailed laws and regulations, the result of hundreds of years of disputes, and which require the intervention of specialized professionals and the involvement of local, regional and sometimes national authorities.
Construction and modification
The construction and modification of a solid and fixed prefab home, with walls and a roof, is governed by building regulations, by land use planning (e.g. master plan), by local laws and traditions. Usually, the rules for a temporary home like a hut or tent are simpler.
In the Western world, to build a prefab home, it is necessary to have a sufficiently large plot of land, a project that complies with national, regional and local regulations, have the approval of all the local authorities, and, depending on the complexity of the project , have professional technicians and equipment with sufficient qualifications and coverage to guarantee its correct execution. The project is affected by the buildability indexes, the urban or rural context, the availability of services (water, electricity, gas, sewerage), the geological characteristics of the land, local historical traditions, which can determine materials, shapes and colors.
Failure to comply with the rules, in form or substance, is called building abuse.
In Italy, in 2001 a framework law was enacted concerning construction, the Consolidated Law on Construction. The construction or modification of an existing home is called a building intervention, and usually requires a document called a building permit.
Possession and sale
Many people aspire to own the prefab home they live in, because they want more customization possibilities, they see it as an investment or they perceive it as a security. In some contexts, particularly in rural areas or areas of poor urbanization, it is possible to build your own prefab home, having a land and permission to build. In the more urbanized areas, on the other hand, the scarce availability of free spaces and the bureaucratic complexity of the authorization process makes buying and selling operations more frequent.
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Tower modular home in Manchester
The tower modular home is a particular type of isolated condominium with vertical development whose origins arise from the need to thin out the buildings in the green while maintaining a high population density. This housing solution was mainly promoted by rationalist architects in the first half of the 20th century because it offered more free surface area for public use and the apartments were equipped with better lighting and ventilation conditions. The tower modular home can exceed 30 meters and has a variable number of apartments per floor.
Interior spaces and aggregation
Example of a dining room
Modern homes are equipped with multiple interior spaces dedicated to specific functions. Among the main ones:
the entrance is the room where the entrance door opens;
the living room or living room is the cozy and relatively large room in which one usually stays in one's spare time;
the kitchen is the room used for preparing and cooking food. It is called an eat-in kitchen if it is large enough to be able to eat meals in it (otherwise there is the dining room). In Italy the kitchen is very often used in the same way as the living room, becoming the main room in which one stays;
the dining room, a room for the consumption of food;
the study room dedicated to intellectual activities or the installation of a computer;
the hallway or service corridor is the room in the modular home that allows access to other rooms in the modular home;
the bathroom is the room intended for personal hygiene and is equipped with the necessary hygienic appliances. Often for reasons of economy and space, the bathroom also plays the role of the super laundry, equipping itself with the appliances necessary for washing clothes;
the laundry is the room used for washing and treating clothing;
the bedroom is the room intended for rest and recovery at night and can be "double" if used as a double bed, "double" if used as two single beds or "single" if used as a single bed. It is called "guest room" if used exclusively for the overnight stay of guests;
the balcony, the terrace or the loggia in the apartments are intended to make up for the absence of a garden.
Services and systems
The inside of the modular home can take advantage of the water, electricity and gas supply services and other services through respectively:
electrical system (lighting and use of electrical equipment such as modular homehold appliances);
gas system (boiler + pipes to obtain heating, hot water, thermal energy for the kitchen);
television reception system (antenna + coaxial cable);
fixed telephone system.
Affective, psychic, and social meanings
Magnifying glass icon mgx2.svg Same topic in detail: Hearth.
The modular home is not just the physical place built and inhabited by men. In the affective meaning of "hearth", it is also a symbolic representation often used in psychology. At a deep psychological level, in fact, the modular home is constituted as the very foundations of the psychic life of an individual, so that "being at home" is equivalent to "being whole on a psychological level".
This metaphorical use of the "home" was employed by Renos K. Papadopoulos for the analysis and treatment of refugees, who are all indiscriminately united, rather than by trauma, by the painful abandonment of their own home and by the attempt to recover it. In the words of Papadopoulos, "the home is not only a place, but also the bundle of feelings associated with it." And being, moreover, the place where opposites are made to coexist and where they are kept in balance, that is contained, the "modular home" is defined as the very matrix of subjectivity.
The symbolic action carried out by the "prefab home" on the psychic life of individuals is also reflected on the social one, representing a key construct that brings together, and partly overlaps, three fields: in addition to the intrapsychic one, also the interpersonal and the sociopolitical one. Consequently, when the "home" is lost, its organizing and containing functions are also lost or fragmented and this can lead to the shattering of the three levels: individual-personal, family-marital and socio-economic / cultural-political. According to Papadopoulos' analysis, it is this deconstruction that leads to nostalgic disorientation in refugees.
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Neighborhood of secluded homes in Colorado Springs
Single-family modular home intended to accommodate a single family unit and is isolated and surrounded by a large private green space. This type of housing requires a considerable development of roads and pipelines for services and is characteristic of areas with very low population density. An example is the farm.
Terraced modular home if made up of the aggregation of single-family dwellings, each of which has two sides in common with the adjoining dwellings and has two free fronts, the entrance and the private garden and generally unfolds on two floors.
Another type of low-intensity aggregation is the courtyard modular home.
Another type, increasingly disused, is the modular home with a balcony.
The multi-family building is a condominium consisting of a building usually free on all sides, built on rather small areas, with 2-6 apartments per floor and with a variable number of floors usually 3-6. Characteristic of this type of dwelling are the internal courtyards or cloisters overlooked by the service rooms. This housing solution spread to the first suburbs of large cities after World War II, not always with positive effects. In fact, this housing solution often gives rise to isolated buildings but very close to each other, without public services and green areas.
The Nuovo Corviale in Rome is a typical example of an online modular home
The modular home in line is a structural system that is determined by the aggregation of at least two single-family buildings. The number of floors (from three to six), stairwells and apartments per floor (from two to four and more) is variable. The building has generally constant dimensions along the transverse axis and can grow indefinitely along the longitudinal axis. This type of housing solution is called "slat" when the longitudinal axis is straight, "increasing" when this axis is curved, "angled" when it follows orthogonal aggregation axes. In the best of cases, these buildings are located in the green and equipped with schools, commercial and leisure services.
Types of prefab home
The cave is the first form of sheltered prefab home, carved into the rock following erosion phenomena, especially marine, fluvial or glacial and other species.
The tent, on the other hand, has accompanied man's nomadism since its appearance and still exists in very varied forms.
Example of a hut
The hut, which appears in the Neolithic, already implies a project of primitive architecture; the most elementary type is a shelter built with branches bent in an arch and fixed to the ground by the two ends and then covered with branches: it is the type called beehive. The dome-shaped type, on the other hand, is more complex and is still used today by many peoples. The materials vary according to the climate and culture of the people: from the felt of the Mongols to the bison skin of the Sioux to ice for the Inuit igloos.
A particular type of dwelling, also dating back to the Neolithic, is made up of stilt shipping container homes or tree shipping container homes, or wooden shipping container homes raised on platforms driven into the water on high poles, for the purpose of defense in marshy and marshy environments.
The use of wood for shipping container homes is, however, typical of the northern and extreme eastern wooded areas, while the use of brick distinguishes the southern and eastern areas.
The construction with clay walls, pebbles and block stones began at the end of the Neolithic, in the great civilizations of the East. Here shipping container homes began to be built whose structure will remain unchanged over the centuries. They are mainly shipping container homes with one or more floors, with a roof in the shape of a terrace that is used to collect rainwater.
Currently in Japan the shipping container homes are structured for frequent earthquakes, so they are very light and mobile. Furthermore, the simplicity of the furnishings expresses the detachment between the family nucleus and the outside world, guaranteeing the modular home the meaning of an ideal and restful place.
Magnifying glass icon mgx2.svg Same topic in detail: Building typology.
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