Prefab architect Rocio Romero, my current architectural crush, is profiled at length in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I was lucky enough to see the prefab exhibition “Some Assembly Required” at the Walker Arts Center in January. The show featured a video on the making of one of Romero’s LV houses (the kids are priced in the $30Ks). I long to live inside one. Maybe my next trip to St. Louis will include a day visit to her Perryville, MO, farm/home office/display. Last October, the New Yorker’s Paul Goldberger described just such a trip:
In front of me was a silver box, roughly fifty feet long and twenty-five feet wide, that appeared to float a few inches above the ground. Part of the facade was covered in corrugated Galvalume, a zinc-alloy-coated steel, and the rest of it was a mixture of flat metal panels and glass. It shimmered in the sun, a benign alien in the landscape.
The L.V. is an exceptionally beautiful house. Other designers, such as Charlie Lazor and the firm Resolution: 4 Architecture, are building innovative prefabricated structures, but Romero’s designs stand out for their clarity, simplicity, and grace. There is nothing funky about the L.V. Romero has hidden the gutters inside the structure and made the exterior walls higher than the slightly downward-slanting roof, so that when you look at her house all you see is a clean, pure box. The proportions are pleasing, and the details elegant; the foundation supports have been recessed slightly, giving the house that appearance of hovering.
The interior of Romero’s L.V. is clean, white, and pointedly austere. Light pours in: the sides have floor-to-ceiling glass windows in a handsome grid pattern, and the back wall consists of a series of sliding-glass panels. The living room contains four black leather chairs, a glass coffee table, and a flat-screen television mounted on one wall. There are only three decorative objects: an old jukebox and a pair of Kennedy and Nixon posters from the 1960 Presidential election. They all belong to Bradford, who has a collection of objects from the nineteen-fifties and sixties that he displays in strict accord with the minimalist restraint of his wife.