The Zero Carbon policy is intended to create a kind of ecological balance to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies report that the construction sector is one of the main responsible for the unbalance in which we find ourselves today, after all, it consumes natural resources on a gigantic scale and still builds buildings that do not collaborate with the maintenance of the environment. Therefore, searching for paths towards a carbon neutral architecture has become fundamental and one of them is learning from past masters, such as the Brazilian architect João Filgueiras Lima, known as Lelé.
Prefabricated: The Latest Architecture and News
The first wooden housing modules of Juf Nienke, a new circular prefabricated timber housing project by SeARCH, RAU, and DS landscape architects, has been installed in Amsterdam. The project will feature 61 rental homes made entirely of wood, and will sit at the entrance of Centrumeiland, a newly raised piece of land on Lake IJmeer that features 1500 housing units. It is set to be one of the most sustainable apartment buildings in the Netherlands, incorporating an innovative cross-laminated timber construction and utilizing recycled materials.
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.
It is difficult to find someone who never played LEGO as a child. What if, like LEGO's, we thought of buildings as great assembling games? U-Build is a modular wooden construction system developed by Studio Bark to be easy to build, pleasant to inhabit, and simple to deconstruct at the end of its useful life. The system removes many of the difficulties associated with traditional construction, enabling individuals and communities to build their own homes and buildings. The system uses precision CNC machining to create a kit of parts, allowing the structure of the building to be assembled by people with limited skills and experience, using only simple hand tools.
The Hilda L. Solis Care First Village (HSCFV), a large-scale interim housing project providing a wide range of amenities for both the unhoused and those in transition, recently opened in Downtown Los Angeles.
Industrial architecture usually requires fast installation, low-maintenance components, and flexible spaces that can be used for different purposes. Therefore, modular solutions are very common in this type of construction, also adding a powerful visual language to the building.
Finnish Pavilion Presents the Country's History of Prefabricated Wooden Houses at the 2021 Venice Biennale
For the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Finland's Pavilion revisits a moment in local history when a refugee crisis led to new ways of building and a reconfiguration of domestic space, which ended up influencing different places around the world. Titled New Standards, the exhibition curated by Laura Berger, Philip Tidwell and Kristo Vesikansa presents the story of Puutalo Oy, an industrial enterprise specialized in prefabricated wooden buildings that set new standards for residential design in the 20th century and created Finland's most widespread architectural export.
ADDP Architects has unveiled its Avenue South Residences project in Singapore, the world's tallest prefabricated, prefinished residential construction. Scheduled for completion in 2026, the two 56-story towers “sits amidst five historically preserved buildings on one of Singapore’s most verdant avenues”.
Prefabricated design and manufacturing company Plant Prefab has announced their new lightHouse line, a set of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) available in multiple sizes. Working with designers Alchemy Architects, the LivingHomes concept joins a roster of work with partners that include KieranTimberlake, Koto Design and Brooks + Scarpa. With a size ranging from 310 square feet to 600, the newest line was inspired by Alchemy’s previous work on small-space living.
Prefabricated residential design and construction company Plant Prefab has unveiled three new LivingHome designs. The new designs, which range from a farmhouse-style structure to a modernist townhouse designed for The Los Angeles CIty Small Lot Ordinance (SLO) zoning, are all created by Plant Prefab’s in-house design team, the Plant Design Studio.
Flying Panels - How Concrete Panels Changed the World is a new ArkDes exhibition designed by Note Design Studio and curated by Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola - authors of the Monolith Controversies exhibition, the winner of the Silver Lion award at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014.
It brings together a series models and material as posters, paintings, films, toys, cartoons and opera sets are gathered to reflect on how concrete panels influenced culture for the construction of a new society.
Some assembly required for this vision of future urban living. Known for simple, well-designed, flat-pack furniture, IKEA is proposing expanding their DIY-model to a much larger scale: entire city centers. Democratic Design Days is an annual event where IKEA introduces its upcoming brands and collaborations, this year featuring The Urban Village Project, a collaboration between SPACE10 and EFFEKT Architects. After two years of research, SPACE10 (IKEA’s global research and design lab) is releasing their vision to the public for a new way to design, build, and share our homes, neighborhoods, and cities.
MIT Mass Timber Design, a cross-disciplinary design workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have developed a building prototype that aims to tackle the world’s growing energy crisis, “one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.” Extensively using the wood-based building design and construction technology mass timber - a method growing in popularity within North America - the project utilizes the “efficiency, speed, precision and versatility” of prefabricated timber construction elements to realize a multi-functional, sustainable building. The longhouse typology, often one of the first permanent structures of a civilization, is a common across the world, but in adapting its construction to face modern-day issues, the team hopes to create a space that “builds upon this rich cultural icon.”
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Can Prefab Construction Meet Infrastructure Needs in India? KEF Infra Thinks So."
At KEF Infra One—a prefabrication plant outside of Krishnagiri, India—houses, cafeterias, and hospitals roll off an assembly line, as do the premade doors, windows, bathroom fixtures, and furniture to be installed within them. It’s a one-stop shop that makes building a house as easy as buying the food, dishes, and cookware for a family dinner in one fell swoop at Target.
The demands on infrastructure in India are huge. Given the country’s decentralization and its building trades’ reliance on manual labor, this level of modular building integration has been a far-off dream across all sectors. KEF Infra says it’s the only such facility in the world, integrating design, engineering, and fabrication to assemble building kits that provide far more than four walls and a roof, right out of the box.
Continuing towards its goal of creating design-forward structures that are available to the public and installable anywhere, Revolution Precrafted's series has unveiled its latest pavilion design by Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect of UNStudio. The limited edition Ellipsicoon (a portmanteau of Ellipse and Cocoon) is available now through Revolution Precrafted’s website, joining the selection of prefabricated pavilions and single-family home designs by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, and Daniel Libeskind.
In buildings where openness, brightness, and outward views are highly valued by the users of our projects, glass predominates as an exterior cladding in cities all around the world. This forces us to look for options that can manage the excess of solar radiation and maintain thermal comfort in all seasons, without obstructing the views or darkening the interior spaces.
Prefabricated metal meshes provide certain qualities and flexibility that can work well in conjunction with glass; here we present 8 tips to work with this material and take advantage of its potential.