I'm more than fascinated by modularity; the concept of building more complex objects from basic types, along with interoperable standards. Legos come to mind. A favorite toy as a child, legos come in basic pieces, each of which connect simple building blocks to others in predictable ways to make unpredictable items and structures.
I've been curious as to why real Lego homes do not exist. As a homeowner, I have wanted to change the shape of my house temporarily, for example, when a guest stays over for a week. A bit more drastically, I have wanted to remove walls and move closets within my house. This is where modular design comes in.
Current housing structure is made of basic pieces, however, there is a level of 'finishing work' that tradesmen still specialize in: texturing, plumbing, electrical fixtures, and appliances. For each of these skills, there are steps that could be simplified. Simplifying these processes through intelligently designed openly compatible parts seems like fun and a great opportunity.
The availabilty of highly functional fabrication tools, techniques, and materials should make it possible to develop kits and catalogs of interoperable parts.
The main parts of these building items would be: Structural, Functional, Aesthetic
Structural items include:
concrete foundation water (optional: water collection / storage) gas plumbing electrical cable / phone Functional items include:
Walls Cabinets Storage Faucets, Toilets & Plumbing Extensions Aesthetic items include:
Ceiling and wall paneling, baseboards Lights Switches Screens other finishings
Update: November 14, 2011
Today, I found Urban Lab Design, operating from Mare Island, Vallejo, California. Coincidentally, I have seen some of their work before and was very pleased to find the makers.
While browsing their portfolio, I also found Craig Steely, an architect who has a portfolio full of sexy, high-end work.