weeHouse - Modern Prefab Homes by Alchemy Architects

Marfa weeHouse - 440 sq ft 1 Bedroom Modern Prefab Home, Texas

Prefab house, Texas

Floor plans, Drawings
About Alchemy Architects

ProjectMarfa weeHouse
Design and manufactureAlchemy
LocationTexas, United States
Area440 sq ft
PhotosScott Ervin

AIA Honor Awards

Small Projects 2011

This 440 sq ft 1 bedroom prefab home serves as a simple retreat space on the beautiful remote area outside an arts colony in Texas. It is the first of three prefab modules that are planned to install for the site. The module installed complete with an outdoor shed and a fully finished exterior and interior, leaving only sun-shielding canopies, decks and utility hookups to be assembled on-site.

Description by architects.

This weeHouse and its cool, calming interior serves as a simple 440 SF retreat space on the fairly remote site outside a small arts colony in West Texas. It is designed to be the first of three weeHouse modules that are planned for the site.

The module arrived complete with an outdoor shed (housing w/d + hot water heater) and a fully finished interior and exterior, leaving only utility hookups, decks and sun-shielding canopies to be installed on- site. A stepped foundation provides a proud platform for sweeping views of an amazing landscape.


The client wanted a modestly-scaled retreat that sat lightly on the landscape in a remote site, 20 minutes outside the small arts colony of Marfa, in West Texas. The initial house is a do-all outpost, the first of three modules that are planned for the site. The module arrived complete with an outdoor shed and a fully finished interior and exterior, leaving only utility hookups, decks and prefabricated sun-shielding canopies to be installed on-site. The architects sought to re-imagine the ideal of luxury based on size, instead looking to leverage the uniqueness of place through effcient multi-use space with simple, elegant detailing. They also concentrated design efforts on the process of producing high-quality work within a modest budget and a geographically challenging location.

The house is reduced to a floor and ceiling, the end walls creating a TUBE that locates a nexus on the landscape.

The simplicity of the living space and its amenities offer livability and a sense of luxury without detracting from the reason to be there in the first place: respite. Expansive decks promote outdoor living, the glass allows natural cross ventilation, and large awnings that block the intense SW Texas sunshine.


The remoteness of the site created unique challenges to delivering high quality architecture. The Client contracted with the Architect to purchase not only design services but also the actual house - as a product.- prefabricated in a modular factory. This gave the Architects complete control over the process: from concept to completion, and allowed the house to be "plugged in" with all electrical, infloor heating, and final plumbing items compelte upon delivery. 

The house is located in the high deserts of Texas and is a minimalist refuge. One room serves as bedroom, kitchen, dining room and living room. The adjacent room is a luxurious bathroom with views of mountains to the north and south. A prefabricated utility shed houses an outdoor kitchen and laundry,
leaving the rest of the essentials to the main module. 


  • Size: the project consists of a 15’ x 35’ house (525 sf of conditioned space) and a 4’ x 15’ shed, for a total of 585 sf.
  • Cost: modular work and design, $155k. Site costs withheld.
  • Structure: standard wood frame with simple “framing square” type bolt-on moment brackets to reduce cost, weight, installation labor.
  • Ceiling height: 8’.
  • Siding: fibercement panels and trim, painted with an oxidized latex paint with suspended iron filings.
  • Windows: standard Andersen 8’x8’ sliding doors.
  • Roof: Epdm rubber, vented.
  • Heating: The house is heated via wood-burning fireplace, on-demand electric boiler with hydronic in-floor heating located in the bath cabinet. A small 19-seer rated split wall AC unit provides all the cooling needed.

Curtain tracks are integrated into the ceiling/door trim.


1 Bedroom Prefab Home Floor Plans


Arado weeHouse - Off-grid 336 sq ft 1 Bedroom Modern Prefab Home, Minnesota 

Floor plans, Drawings
About Alchemy Architects

ProjectArado weeHouse
LocationMinnesota, USA
Area336 sq ft
PhotosDoug Fogelson

A violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra and her family enjoy off-grid living in the original weeHouse located on Minnesota prairie land near Lake Pepin. The interior is completely wrapped in douglas fir and features IKEA built-in cabinetry and kitchen elements as well as floor to ceiling Andersen windows on both sides.

Off-grid living in the original 336 SF weeHouse was weekend respite for a musician and her son. It sat on prairie land near Lake Pepin, part of the Mississippi River. The Arado weeHouse was built “in-factory” by Geoffrey C. Warner and a team of craftsmen for about $60,000 (in 2003). It was shipped to the site via truck, and installed by crane onto a newly built pier foundation. The deck and outhouse soon followed. The weeHouse was relocated to the Twin Cities in 2015. It still stands as the iconic image for the weeHouse identity.

Arado weeHouse Installation

Arado weeHouse Floor Plans

About Alchemy Architects

Our distinct hands-on approach to architecture and design combines a playful design process, collaborative relationships with clients, and partnerships with builders and fabricators, to create a harmonious blend of site, building, and community.  With sustainable practices as a mainstay of our daily work, Alchemy utilizes recycling and reuse along with building strategies  that reduce waste.  Our multidisciplinary team draws inspiration from art, literature, history, and leading creative thinkers to create alternative and atypical project solutions.  Alchemy’s innovation on the weeHouse prefab system and “tightwad panache” renovations has gained recognition on an international scale.

Alchemy is an architectural design firm that works with independent factories and contractors around the continental United States and Canada to build our designs using various construction methods: prefab modular, prefab panels (a kit of parts), or on-site-building (stick-building). We work alongside the Owner throughout the design and build process. We do not sell ‘plans’—we see all of our designs through to completion.

Alchemy’s lightHouse accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a predesigned, luxurious, crafted solution that can be delivered using modular, panelized, or on-site build methods. Designed to be low-energy and sustainable, they offer limited but meaningful options and floor plans that respond to various climates, sites, and orientations. The built Sebastopol lightHouse (#1!) and other initial sketches are chronicled here. For a look at the full lightHouse system, download the lightHouse brochure.

Prefabricated modular builds executed by independent factory partners are delivered to the building site essentially complete. Alchemy utilizes factories around the United States who are open to building contemporary custom homes alongside more traditional structures. Our fifteen+ years of experience building relationships within this industry makes a difference.

Panelized construction of walls or the roof are delivered to the site as a ‘kit of parts’ and assembled by the on-site building team. Infrastructure is added, interiors and exterior.

Address856 Raymond Ave STE G, St Paul, MN 55114, United States
Phone+1 651-647-6650

weeHouse - Modern Prefab Homes by Alchemy Architects