Carl Koch (architect)

Carl Koch ( May 11, 1912– 3 July 3, 1998) was a noted American architect. He was most associated with the design of prefabricated homes and development of the Techcrete building system.

He was born Albert Carl Koch, Jr. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 11, 1912. He was educated at Harvard College and received his Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He completed his studies in 1937. The time he spent at Harvard overlapped with arrival of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus in Germany.[1]

Koch served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.[2] In April 1944, he was recruited for transfer to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program of the Allied Military Government in the European Theater of Operations, where he served in Germany with other ‘Monuments Men.’[3]

After completing his education, he moved to Sweden where he worked for Sven Markelius for six months.[4] There he blended what he had learned in his formal education with clean Scandinavian design. These influences were evident in his work, especially the Techbuilt homes.

Koch believed that the American lifestyle would be best served by a housing system which could be easily assembled, disassembled and reconfigured. This passion led him to pioneer prefabrication technologies. His Techbuilt series of homes was designed to be built with prefabricated panels for the walls, floor and roof.[5]

His prime legacy is the Techbuilt system of home construction. In the Techbuilt house, the post and beam system (which makes interior walls non-loadbearing) combined with a variety of modular exterior wall panels (in 4' and 8' widths) permits the client to easily customize the design.

Carl Koch is known for his successful early designs for prefabricated housing. He created the Techbuilt System of home construction. Progressive Architecture magazine gave him the unofficial title "The Grandfather of Prefab" in 1994.[8] In total, over 3,000 Techbuilt homes were sold.[1]