Cover Designs Streamlines Prefab Architecture by Algorithm

08.07.17 | By
Cover Designs Streamlines Prefab Architecture by Algorithm

In neighborhoods across the country small structures are increasingly popping up in backyards. Known as backyard cottages, pre-fab in-laws, ADUs (accessory dwelling units), or granny pods – their actual purposes vary from a place to relax, to accommodate guests, or to serve as live/work spaces separate from the main house. Cover is a Los Angeles-based prefab company catering to residents looking to construct small prefab structures of higher standards, integrating a 3-step process to streamline the traditionally laborious timeline of design, permit, and building connecting to building using a proprietary algorithm.

Cover identifies itself as much a technology company as an architectural solution, distinguishing itself from traditional architectural firms and general contractors by integrating algorithmic software across the entire design process, converting the wants and needs of their clients into numerous iterations to choose from. This begins with a survey of up to 100 questions to allow the software to identify lifestyle habits and isolate key features to output prefabricated elements together into a bespoke structure.

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The company’s proprietary software calculates “zoning, sun-path, and geospatial data” to generate a design optimized for efficiency, utility, and comfort – all important details for an unattached smaller structure. All this is delivered within 3 business days with:

  • Zoning research
  • Multiple design options
  • Design visualizations
  • Dimensioned floorplans
  • All-inclusive quotes

That’s a significantly abbreviated turnaround with only a modest investment to investigate whether moving forward onto steps 2 (surveying and permits) and step 3 (manufacturing and construction) is both feasible and desirable.

Compared to my tool shed turned timeout getaway, Cover’s backyard structures are a significantly more expensive investment, but one that simplifies a more permanent and realized architectural solution shaped by the logic of computers, a house as machine for living in designed by machines themselves. Somewhere Le Corbusier is smiling in approval.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at