One of the co-founders of Juno — a new mass-timber and modular housing company — was recently interviewed by Dezeen. Prior to cofounding Juno, BJ Siegel was Apple’s design director and spent 19 years designing and working on their stores. And so this is the lens that he and his partners are bringing to the real estate development space. (I also just learned this morning that their head of real estate is a former classmate of mine from Penn.) Here is an excerpt from the Dezeen article that speaks to their goal of productizing the delivery of new housing:
The third is Apple really challenged us to think about the way we deliver the project more like the way they deliver products through a kind of owner-furnished direct source supply chain model.
And that actually spurred a lot of investigation as to how to translate that work from a product into this industry [real estate development], which is really kind of not focused on that.
So that really was a big, big focus.
The company recently announced that they have broken ground on their first project in Austin, Texas. It is a five storey 24-unit residential project that is being positioned as “middle-income, market-rate” housing. They’ve reduced the building down to about 33 standardized parts and are using a secret type of mass timber that is manufactured in the US. Supposedly it’s better than cross-laminated timber, but the company is keeping it as part of their secrete sauce right now.
Juno is not the first company to identify this gaping problem in the development and construction space. The typical construction process is antiquated, inefficient, and filled with far too much waste. Which is why modular / pre-fabricated housing has been a goal of architects, builders and others for generations. Eventually we will figure out how to better productize the delivery of new housing and bring down its costs. And in my view that will be a great thing for consumers.
Rendering by Engraff Studio via Dezeen