With permission from Woodside Homes.
With permission from Woodside Homes.

40 years ago, U.S. manufacturers began transforming their operations by emulating Toyota’s innovative lean production method based on the Japanese concept of kaizen--“the art of continuous improvement.” Today, the Japanese business philosophy of chōwa--“the spirit of partnership and life balance”--is poised to have the same transformative effect on the entire American home building industry.

Three companies - Japan's largest home building company, Sekisui House, its U.S. subsidiary Woodside Homes, and BUILDER Online, are leading the development of the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home project in Las Vegas. The home will showcase a number of proprietary building, engineering, design and development techniques and systems developed over the last few decades in Sekisui House’s Comprehensive Housing R&D Institute, one of the world’s largest research centers of its kind. Once complete, the home will serve as a model for how American architects, designers and builders can incorporate these proprietary advancements today.

The primary goal of this project is to usher in a new age of R&D into an industry where innovation has been stalled for decades. Builders still rely on designs, materials, and processes that date back 50+ years. That’s creating an ever-widening gulf between what American home buyers want, particularly members of Generation X who comprise the largest buyer segment, and what builders can deliver.

Too often, a new home fails to address the typical American home buyer’s desire for a house that promotes environmental sustainability, supports occupants’ health and wellness, integrates cutting-edge smart technologies, protects against the consequences of climate change, and easily adapts as a family’s needs change over the long-term.

The Generation Gap
Generation Xers moved out of their parents’ homes nearly 30 years ago. Today, they’re raising their own children and looking for their dream homes. And studies show their new home wish lists are much different from those of their parents in several areas, such as flexible and adaptive floor plans.

They’re likely to want more bedrooms upstairs for the kids, a dedicated playroom downstairs, and a quiet home office. As the children grow up and move out, the downstairs playroom may become a bedroom suite for elderly relatives. When Gen X’ers reach retirement age, they don’t plan to move into retirement communities like their grandparents and parents did. They want to stay in their homes, remain active in their communities, and even keep working. That’s when the room that first served as a playroom for the kids, then was easily converted into a bedroom for their parents, becomes their new master bedroom suite.

They also prioritize technology integration, sustainability, promoting health and wellness, and facilitating close ties to their communities. The BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home checks all of those boxes with a new approach to improving society through housing.

Commitment to Innovation
Over the last several years, BUILDER has partnered with builders on a number of concept homes to drive innovation. It’s no coincidence that BUILDER teamed up with Sekisui House and Woodside Homes for this year’s project.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, Americans’ lives grow more fragmented and achieving balance is difficult. They’re increasingly seeking resolution in the home by finding a balance between indoor and outdoor life, technology and privacy, comfort and simplicity, and themselves and their communities.

When it’s finished, the Chōwa Concept Home will embody Sekisui House’s core value of “love of humanity” that has informed all of the homes it has built worldwide over the last decade. For U.S. home builders, it will serve as a model for how to incorporate the latest advancements in materials selection, construction processes, thermal insulation, net zero energy consumption, air quality management, technology integration, and universal design to achieve:

  • Precision: The home is square to within millimeter accuracy from the northwest corner of the foundation to the southeast corner.
With permission from Woodside Homes.
With permission from Woodside Homes.
  • Structural Sophistication: Sekisui House has designed a proprietary metal joint system that allows for precise and simple building. It’s unlike anything the U.S. home building industry has seen before. Here’s a video that brings it to life.
    • Flexibility: This home addresses Gen Xers’ desire to purchase homes today that adapt to their long-term needs (e.g., raising children, caring for elder relatives, moving into their retirements 20-30 years from now).
    • Intelligence: Integration of next-generation smart home devices, HVAC system, air filtration, appliances, etc. This technology experience is cutting-edge, but passive to the occupant.
    • Resiliency: The foundation, framing and materials make the home significantly more resistant to earthquakes, floods, severe storms and fire.
    • Sustainability: As a net-zero energy home, it produces as much renewable energy as it consumes in one year, which translates to a net zero energy bill for occupants. Additionally, special attention has been given to air and water quality monitoring to ensure a healthy environment for all occupants 24/7/365.

    Open House

    The concept home is located in Howard Hughes Corp.’s west-Las Vegas master planned community of Summerlin. It will be ready for builders, architects, manufacturers, developers, and other partners to tour in January 2020. For now, these incredible images taken by a drone will have to suffice.

    With permission from Woodside Homes.
    With permission from Woodside Homes.

    Click here to pre-register today to see the 2020 Chōwa Concept Home on a virtual tour or in-person.