Cover, founded by Alexis Rivas & Jemuel Joseph, featured in Archinect
POSTED ON: February 18, 2021
The work of School of Architecture graduates Jemuel Joseph and Alexis Rivas, both AR’16, has been featured in Archinect, in a piece addressing their unique approach to productizing prefabrication. Co-founders of Cover, a company that designs, manufactures, and installs backyard homes in Los Angeles, Joseph and Rivas challenge the inefficiencies and high costs of conventional construction, questioning whether the prefabrication of homes in factories can be streamlined to increase productivity and reduce costs. The premise of Cover is that the entire manner in which homes are prefabricated needs to be completely reconsidered.
Rivas, having learned from his previous work in construction and prefabrication, and Joseph, who specializes in web development and 3D animation, combined their skills and set out to redesign the methods and materials of prefabrication from the ground up. Understanding the need for technology-driven mass-customization, the two reached out to engineers from companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, and Apple, that use production lines to manufacture their products. The resulting collaboration across disciplines yielded a technology company that builds homes, rather than a conventional architecture firm.
Alexis and Jemuel credit their Cooper Union education for shaping their problem-solving skills. In reflecting on their efforts, Dean Tehrani noted “Alexis and Jemuel demonstrate how their pedagogical challenges involved problems of making that, through their ingenuity, could be scaled up to impact production at the industrial level. In them, I see a conceptual precision — what I like to think is a cornerstone of Cooper culture — that has the ability to impact thinking that can be transposed from the academic realm into practice, indeed changing practice entirely as we know it today.”
Summarizing the Cover experience to date, Alexis noted “Home building is slow, expensive, unpredictable, and usually low quality. At Cover, our mission is to make thoughtfully designed and well-built homes for everyone. Homes that improve people's daily lives, reflect our modern way of living, embrace progress, and are uncompromising in their design and performance... What we’re doing is using technology to raise the bar for conventional construction so that this kind of thorough design work can be applied to all homes — not just
the ultra-high-end segment.”