The mkSolaire is the latest sustainable design by architect Michelle Kaufmann, whose California-based firm specializes in prefabricated modular housing. Open, spacious, and loft-like, the mkSolaire is designed to fit into an urban-infill lot, but is suitable for other settings. 

Clad in cedar and cement-board siding, the three-story prefab house encompasses 2,250 square feet and features a living room, kitchen, and courtyard patio on the main level. Bedrooms are set on the second story, and the upper level serves as a loft and library with access to a roof deck. Glass sliding doors and windows infuse the mkSolaire interior with natural light.

Each mkSolaire will be solar-ready with other renewable energy options: a geothermal system, a wind generator system, or hybrid systems. Other green elements include an open-cell foam insulation system, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring, countertops containing recycled paper, recycled glass tile-walls for the master bathroom and powder room, on-demand water heaters, and water-saving plumbing fixtures. Non-toxic paints and formaldehyde-free wood cabinetry are also included in the design.

The first mkSolaire will be built in May as part of the “Smart Home: Green + Wired” exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.


Michelle Kaufmann Designs

Michelle Kaufmann Designs
580 Second Street Suite 245
Oakland, CA 94607
PH: 510.271.8010
FAX: 510.271.8050

Michelle Kaufmann, LEED, AIA
Scott Landry, AIA
James Kean, Designer
Emanuele Naboni, Designer

Architect of record:
Michelle Kaufmann, LEED, AIA

Associate architect(s):
J Jeffery Johnson, LEED, AIA
Project Manager at Museum of Science and Industry

***The following onformation pertains to the mkSolaire™ to be built at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago – not all specs are yet known:

Interior designer:
Michelle Fitzpatrick,
Verde Design

Structural, modular:
All American Homes of Indiana, LLC

Structural, foundation:
Tylk Gustafson Reckers Wilson Andrews, LLC

Erickson Engineering Associates LTD

General contractor:
Matt Neeman, Norcon Inc.

Renderer: Emanuele Naboni, Designer

CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Google SketchUp



Aluminum clad wood: Pella

Glass: Pella 

Skylights: Pella

Entrances: Pella

Wood doors: Masonite

Accordion doors: NanaWall

Garage door: Overhead Door

Locksets: Tell Manufacturers Inc.

Interior finishes:
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Crestwood

Paints and stains: YOLO

Special surfacing: EcoTop (kitchen countertops)

Floor and wall tile: Bedrock Industries (Master bath and powder room - wall tile), Trinity Tile Group

Second bath – wall time: Terra Green (Master bath, second bath floor), Daltile (First floor - interior and exterior floors)

Bamboo flooring: Teragren Flooring

Interior ambient lighting:
Downlights: Progress

Task lighting: Progress

Exterior: Progress

Concreteworks (mkPURE™ sink), Kohler (low-flow faucets, tubs, low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets)

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
General Electric (appliances), Casamonte (fireplace), LiveRoof (green roof), Crown Boiler Co. (boiler), Comfortpro Systems (air handler), Comfortmaker (air conditioner)