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Prefabrication's Second Coming: Why Now?

09:30 - 16 September, 2015
nARCHITECTS' proposal for prefabricated "micro apartments" in New York. Image © nARCHITECTS / NYC Mayor's Office
nARCHITECTS' proposal for prefabricated "micro apartments" in New York. Image © nARCHITECTS / NYC Mayor's Office

Prefabrication is not a new idea for architects. It was a staple of the post-war modernist ideal, a great dream that precise modern structures would be created in clean factories and then shipped to site. However, the realities of post-war prefab were far from this ideal; buildings were often poorly designed or poorly constructed, and by the end of the century prefabrication was merely a footnote in the catalog of construction methods. In the 21st century though, prefabrication is experiencing a resurgence. In this article originally published on Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space publication as "Future of Construction: Your Next Building Won’t Be Built—It Will Be Manufactured," Autodesk's Phil Bernstein looks at the current wave of prefabrication, and answers the question: why now?

Imagine a 57-story tower built in just 19 days.

That’s what China’s Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) company just did. Constructed at a pace of three stories per day, the tower includes 800 apartments, 19 atriums, and office space for 4,000 people.

And BSB isn’t the only one with this type of ambitious plan for the future of construction. The industry is entering the age of the mass-manufactured building. Prefabrication is growing up, reaching a new level of maturity that is now going to change the industry and define new categories of building. Check the trailer-park stereotype at the door.

Archiculture Interviews: Phil Bernstein

00:00 - 12 February, 2015

"Our industry moves really, really slowly, and it's generational." This latest interview from Arbuckle Industries' groundbreaking documentary Archiculture features a discussion with architect, Autodesk vice president, and Yale professor Phil Bernstein. In the interview, Bernstein focuses on the technological aspects that have shifted the methodology and possibilities of architecture today, and how Autodesk is contributing to its advancement through educational interventions. Additionally, he addresses the cultural issues that have arisen as bi-products of technology, as a disconnect between teachers and students has developed due to their different media focuses.

Graduating in 2013? You're in Luck...

00:00 - 29 January, 2013
© Carlos Willis
© Carlos Willis

 is a Vice President at Autodesk and teaches at Yale (see our interview with him here). Last week, we published his "5 Pearls of Wisdoms for Architecture Grads," originally written in 2011. This week, Phil is back to talk to Architecture students again, but this time with some updated advice for the grads of 2013.

It’s been a year since my “Winter Commencement” discussion, and just a few days since I gave my annual talk to our graduating students about the state of the construction economy and what that means for their spring job hunt.  And since ArchDaily decided to repost that blog recently, it seemed timely to reflect a bit on how things have changed since December of 2011, and what those changes might mean for job prospects going forward.

And what a difference a year makes, at least for this year’s graduating class.  The elections are over, most of the economic malaise, while not lifted here in the U.S, is certainly lighter, and designing, building and, most importantly, hiring seems to be on the rise again.  In fact, for the first time since 2009, I suggested to our students that prospects for their employment are the brightest of the young decade.  

Here’s my reasoning...

Find out why Grads in 2013 are facing far rosier circumstances, after the break...

5 Pearls of Wisdom for Architecture Grads, by Phil Bernstein

00:00 - 22 January, 2013
Gund Hall (home of the Graduate School of Design) during Harvard Graduation. Year 2007. Photo CC Wikimedia User Tebici.
Gund Hall (home of the Graduate School of Design) during Harvard Graduation. Year 2007. Photo CC Wikimedia User Tebici.

Phil Bernstein is a Vice President at Autodesk and teaches at Yale (see our interview with him here). This post, originally published in 2011 on his blog as "Winter Commencement," offers timeless advice for architecture students about to enter the job market. 

As December now rolls around it's the eve of my last lecture in my professional practice class at Yale. Although I've been teaching for almost twenty-five years, I still can't believe how quickly the semester accelerates into Thanksgiving, and suddenly it's all over but the shouting (or, in our case, final projects and juries). About the same time as the term slammed to a closed I received a note from a student at Prarie View A&M, asking many of the existential questions that must be facing architecture students nearing their degrees. Seemed like a good time to speculate a bit about that future, and what this year's graduates might be facing as they confront the job market in the spring, with enough time between now and then to contemplate their options and plot their strategies, so here goes:

Read on to find out Phil Bernstein's 5 tips for future grads, after the break...