The popularity of pre-designed and pre-fabricated homes is growing, moving much of the construction process from the building site into factories. While countries like Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom are increasingly adopting modular buildings to meet labor and housing shortages, Nordic countries like Sweden already build 90% of residential single-family houses in prefab wood. Despite the recent surge in interest, off-site building is by no means a new concept. In fact, the construction method has been present throughout history in many attempts to consolidate its use in construction: as far back as A.D 43, the Roman army brought with them prefabricated forts to Britain, while Japan has been building in wood off-site and moving parts in pre-assemblies for at least a thousand years.
Unlike classical architecture, characterized by a series of rooms with very defined functions and spaces, the current architectural design seeks to integrate spaces to achieve high degrees of adaptability and flexibility. In this way, the boundaries of the enclosures are blurred and new solutions appear that are worth analyzing. In the case of bedrooms, bathrooms are often no longer a small and secluded adjoining room – instead, they are now integrated to form a multifunctional space that is subtly concealed. Just like Mies van der Rohe, who used to group services in strategic areas to create open floors, let's review some cases that have adopted the specific solution of the hidden bathroom just behind the bed.
The automation of architectural design and rendering has been further accelerated by digital production tools. Tools such as 3D printers, assembly robots, and laser cutters, have all but perfected the design and construction process and have proven essential in optimizing resources, improving precision, and increasing control of the process.
In woodworking, the most frequently used digital production tools are milling machines or CNC (computer numerical control) routers. These tools facilitate the rendering of 2D vectoral drawings and 3D models, codifying them into instructions for the machine to follow and execute. Through this process, which starts with digital archives (typically created using design software widely known as AutoCad), milling machines and CNC routers can rapidly and precisely cut wood, producing ready to assemble pieces.
In Paraguay, brick can be many things. Walls, dividers, facades, sieves, vaults, floors, and pavement are just some of the many example that demonstrate, not only the variety of uses for brick, but the ingenuity of the architects who choose to utilize it in their projects.