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This home goes up like a Coachella modular build: fast/cheap

When the Woolsey Fire burnt down their home in 2018, Molly and Ed Murphy wanted a house that would go up fast, that their limited insurance funds would pay for and that wasn’t wood. They were introduced to Alexis Rochas whose Oasys prefab can be erected in 30 days using an aluminum frame and steel panels.

Rochas’ breakthrough came after years of building with space frame technology at events like Coachella, when he decided to apply this engineering tech to housing. “A space frame or space structure (3D truss) is a rigid, lightweight, truss-like structure constructed from interlocking struts in a geometric pattern.”

Invented over a century ago, it was used by Buckminster Fuller on some of his Dymaxion projects. “It allows us to do large spans, free form and tackle the most amount of space with the least amount of material,” explains Rochas.

“A traditional truss uses mass to carry the weight and transfer the loads. A space frame literally uses geometry, a series of struts that bring either tension or compression back to the loads, that’s why it’s an incredibly lightweight solution that is as or more resilient than a concrete beam or a steel beam that is about 15 times the weight or a traditional wood beam is.”

Prior to starting Oasys, Rochas and his team did 7 years of large scale events because “when we started the company no one needed a house that was cheap and fast”. Then Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and within just one week, their team had designed, manufactured, and shipped a 500-square-foot home to the island in a box that was 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 feet. They erected it in one day.

Molly and Ed’s home took closer to a month, but its modular structure means that it can also be disassembled and moved if necessary. Currently, the couple is living on the property with Molly’s mother, using shipping containers as extra bedrooms.