February 9, 2017 Techbuilt House

Carl Koch: The ‘Grandfather of Prefab,’ Techbuilt in Beltsville

Long before Dwell magazine made prefab cool, architect Carl Koch, who graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, was a leader of the prefab modern movement and has been dubbed the “Grandfather of Prefab” by Progressive Architecture magazine.

“Koch designed and developed the Techbuilt prefab building system  based upon the standardized 4×8 plywood panel,” architectural photographer Michael Biondo writes on his great site detailing his own renovation of a Techbuilt in Connecticut. “He started shipping Techbuilt packages in 1953 and sold a reported 3000 homes. Most of the houses were built in the Northeastern and mid Atlantic regions. The Techbuilt system allowed for and encouraged a variety of configurations based upon the 4×8 grid.”

If you are interested in living in one of Koch’s designs, please take a look at my listing in Beltsville.  (This is not in MRIS (the multiple listing system) so please contact me or have your agent reach out to me if you are interested.)

This Techbuilt Concord 4804 model in Beltsville is a stunning example of mid-century modern architecture set on a private .8 acre wooded lot backing to parkland. The 4 bedroom/2 full bathroom home is 2,650 square feet on two levels and has a separate two-car garage and additional storage shed. It is listed for $449K.  Here are the all the photos.




“A hillside design providing for adult living on the upper level, with a sweeping deck for outdoor enjoyment, and a lower level for the youngsters’ activities,” the original brochure says. “The master bedroom can be placed downstairs, and the upper bedroom can be used as a guest room-study, if desired.”

With walls of double-pane glass and large wraparound deck, the wood-and-brick clad house blends inside and out, connecting the interior space to the nature of the lot, which backs up to Little Paint Branch Park and trail.


Architect Carl Koch, who graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, was a leader of the prefab modern movement and has been dubbed the “Grandfather of Prefab” by Progressive Architecture magazine.





The main level includes a long galley kitchen with excellent storage and large living-dining space. The kitchen features light wood cabinets, granite countertops, vintage globe lights, a built-in desk area and open custom wood bar area designed by the owner that opens to the dining room.



The soaring living-dining space features wood floors, cathedral ceilings and exposed wood beams that extend outside to support extended eaves. A prominent brick fireplace with stone hearth creates a partial separation between the dining and living areas.


The private master suite is conveniently located on the main floor and has sliding glass door that open to the deck.



The carpeted downstairs level has three additional bedrooms and the second full bathroom, a family room with excellent storage space and second fireplace. Utility, laundry and storage areas are also located on the lower level, which opens to the back through sliding glass doors.




The house is located just over 4 miles from the University of Maryland and 7.5 miles to NASA Goddard. The location has easy access to I-95, the Intercounty Connector and the Baltimore Washington Parkway. The Greenbelt Metro is 4.4 miles away.