Little prefab houses

class=img_thumbleft>Abraham Maslow's five-tiered hierarchy of needs lists safety--shelter and protection from elements--as the second step necessary to achieve the ever-elusive concept of self-actualization. Without need number two, he says, even love is meaningless. Like everything else in Maslow's hierarchy (status, achievement, etc.), our concept of living spaces has continued to shift in the last decade: prefab homes, which once were as unpopular for the architecturally-minded as post-war tract homes, certainly aren't the shack-in-a-box they used to be. Starting December 8, the Walker Art Center's "Some Assembly Required" exhibit will house some of these new prefab houses in the form of diagrams, photos, and 3D models, including a 480-sqaure-foot replica of a FlatPak home created by Minneapolis-based architectural firm Lazor Office. (The original FlatPak home is like a giant glass-encased minimalist art piece plopped in the middle of the Kenwood neighborhood.) Incorporating unique materials, concepts of nature, a fluidity with the outside world, a modern-art ideology, and inspirations from patterns the world creates, these do-it-yourself kits are modern-day tools for creating works of art you can live in.

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