Tuesday, January 2, 2018

John Connell, A Featured Speaker at the January 24 Modular Symposium

Join John and the other speakers for a full day "The Future of Modular in the East" event in Lewisburg, PA on January 24, 2018.

John Connell, founder of Yestermorrow School
Along the checkered history of factory-built homes we’ve had some spectacular moments – Sears, Wardway, Thomas Edison and Operation Breakthrough – to name a few. And today, I believe we’re on the brink of yet another breakout chapter. What, you may ask, is so different just now? Well, we have a nationwide housing shortage which is particularly severe in the Northeast. Separation of wealth following the Great Recession has reduced cash and credit among the broadest sections of the population. The need for quality at reasonable price is acute. Can modular, prefab residences meet this need? Most certainly!
Now most good builders are cautious when it comes to new ideas, big predictions and “the latest gadget”. We have paid too dearly in the past for being early adaptors. But factory delivery is not a new idea. It’s an old idea whose time has come. Why now? Because today we have reliable computers, solid software, CADD, CNC, unparalleled dimensionality in our building materials and young trades who have grown up with it all. Inside the factories, things have never looked better. It’s the builders outside the factories that need our attention. To realize its greatest potential, factory delivery must engage the builders in the field in a way they can embrace – a way that works with their established practices.

This is the curriculum that Yestermorrow Design/Build School hopes to bring to first time modular home builders. With a day or two of training, first time prefab experiences can be an “ah hah!” instead of an “uh oh…” moment. I have met too many builders with just one bad modular experience who will happily expound on why it’s a terrible idea – “Never again!” But I also know for a fact that there is a growing number of builders who consistently deliver high/top-quality residences at a remarkable price and a stunning schedule by using factory delivery. Once the secret is out and there are more prefab-friendly builders, we will witness the Golden Age of Factory Delivery in the Northeast. John's Bio:
Connell was originally trained as a printmaker, then a carpenter, an architect and finally an animator. He has written a few books and too many articles to count. In 1980 he founded the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vermont. For the last 12 years his focus has been on factory delivery of high quality, energy efficient, custom architecture. He has built several prefab buildings using a variety of systems and manufacturers. Connell believes we are at the very beginning of what could be the breakout chapter in the evolution of this building approach. He lectures and writes extensively but is most happy when drawing cartoons.

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