The 5x5 House is an experiment in the commoditization of building designs. Rather than treating architecture as a bespoke piece of art, the 5x5 House recognizes there are generally applicable conditions, both with respect to the climate and to the needs human beings, that do not require unique solutions. There is no reason, in other words, that buildings should be treated differently from the cars we drive or the computers we use.
These products have delivered incredible leaps in performance over relatively brief periods, precisely because companies were able to improve each version iteratively. The question I am asking is what type of improvements we can expect if we treated buildings in the same manner. How much quicker, how much better, could we build the second house, the third house, the twentieth house? How much value does this bring to the end user?
While examples of "commodified buildings designs" exist, they are usually associated with exceptionally low cost and low quality: e.g. sub-division tract homes, single/double wide trailer homes, or larger apartment complexes. The 5x5 House strikes a different balance. The 5x5 house is all about value: meaning that while it may not be the cheapest product, every square inch of what you get is excellent.
It would be also be remiss not to acknowledge the "prefab" market (meaning off-site pre-built homes or parts of homes) which has become increasingly popular in recent years. The nature of pre-fabrication presents a few challenges. Notably, moving buildings is difficult due to their size and the unusual stresses they experience in transit. The design will necessarily reflect these one-time, demanding criteria which have nothing to do with how the building actually performs its job of being a building. In my mind, this is a sizable concession to make. Secondly, the space required to inventory these objects requires a massive capital cost which will inevitably be passed on to the consumer. If you want a whole building delivered "tomorrow," so to speak, it means that someone is paying to keep a number of them in a warehouse waiting for your call.
The 5x5 House takes a different approach, which is reminiscent of Sears and Roebuck's "kit homes," from the early 1900's, which utilize traditional site-sequenced labor and are able to take advantage of the existing skillsets in local economies. This model is also ideal for homeowners who are interested in self-performing some of the work. No special crew is required. You don't need any special equipment, either. What is more, because of its "buildable" design, it does not require painstaking precision or attention to detail to achieve good results. It employs a tremendous amount of repetition, avoids unique conditions, and includes a fully coordinated structural and mechanical schematic. All of this means that once the logic is understood, each phase of the project should progress quickly, and roll easily into the next.