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Prefabrication: The Latest Architecture and News

Building Houses With Giant Blocks: U-Build and the Future of Self-Construction

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.

Modular Components in Industrial Architecture

Seville Cruise Terminal Phase 2 / Hombre de Piedra Arquitectos + Buró 4. Photo: © Jesús GranadaWhite Shed / Atelier 111 Architekti. Photo: © Alex Shoots BuildingsMariposa Land Port of Entry / Jones Studio. Photo: © Bill TimmermanMilagrito Mezcal Pavilion / AMBROSI I ETCHEGARAY. Photo: © Onnis Luque+ 27

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.

How Did Materials Shape the Case Study Houses?

The Case Study Houses (1945-1966), sponsored by the Arts & Architecture Magazine and immortalized by Julius Shulman’s iconic black-and-white photographs, may be some of the most famous examples of modern American architecture in history. Designed to address the postwar housing crisis with quick construction and inexpensive materials, while simultaneously embracing the tenets of modernist design and advanced contemporary technology, the Case Study Houses were molded by their central focus on materials and structural design. While each of the homes were designed by different architects for a range of clients, these shared aims unified the many case study homes around several core aesthetic and structural strategies: open plans, simple volumes, panoramic windows, steel frames, and more. Although some of the Case Study Houses’ materials and strategies would become outdated in the following decades, these unique products and features would come to define a historic era of architectural design in the United States.

Lagos House / MAPA

© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti© Leonardo Finotti+ 35

Ciudad de la Costa, Uruguay
  • Architects: MAPA
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2019
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Alufran, Bosch, Dura, Laviere Vitacca, MOAA, +1

Cabin in La Juanita / MAPA

© Aldo Lanzi© Aldo Lanzi© Aldo Lanzi© Aldo Lanzi+ 37

José Ignacio, Uruguay
  • Architects: MAPA
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2020
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Estudio Diario, MadForModern

The Use of Prefabrication in 6 Emergency Projects Around the World

Rural Housing Prototype in Apan / DVCH De Villar CHacon Architecture. Image: © Jaime Navarro Soto
Rural Housing Prototype in Apan / DVCH De Villar CHacon Architecture. Image: © Jaime Navarro Soto

Emergencies include a variety of contemporary scenarios ranging from natural disasters to extreme poverty or isolation due to social and political conflicts. In all cases, the disruption of normality and the requirement of basic needs for maintaining a decent quality of life become the basis for finding quick and efficient alternatives to respond to this type of urgency.

Plant Prefab Introduces New LivingHome Designs

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.

Courtesy of Plant PrefabCourtesy of Plant PrefabCourtesy of Plant PrefabCourtesy of Plant Prefab+ 5

Brooks + Scarpa Design a Toolkit for Affordable Housing

Brooks + Scarpa and Plant Prefab have developed a new toolkit to address housing shortages. Scalable as an infill solution, the Nest toolkit can be configured in multiple ways using site types and typical lot sizes, or a combination of them. The toolkit was made to address LA’s shortage of supportive housing for the homeless and provide flexibility to meet the needs of a particular site, neighborhood, and bed count.

Courtesy of Brooks + ScarpaCourtesy of Brooks + ScarpaCourtesy of Brooks + ScarpaCourtesy of Brooks + Scarpa+ 12

This Brazilian Startup Creates Smart, Pre-Fabricated Homes in Half the Time

Brazilian startup SysHaus, in partnership with architect Arthur Casas, developed a project of sustainable, smart homes that are ready in half the time of other pre-fab works. The startup project, specializing in high-end real estate, is made only of pieces of recycled materials, such as aluminum and MDF. In addition, the house does not produce waste or wastewater.

Prefabricated Public Schools: 7 Brazilian Projects in Plan and Section

Telemaco State School Melges / UNA Arquitetos. Image © Nelson Kon
Telemaco State School Melges / UNA Arquitetos. Image © Nelson Kon

Great school design is more than just a good piece of architecture. Particularly in vulnerable areas with poor public infrastructure, schools symbolize the role of the state and education as a transforming agent for social improvement. They can also become areas for community life, sports, courses, among other uses. Unfortunately, these projects do not always receive the attention they deserve. 

Schools require diverse and complex programs and flows, therefore, developing an educational project is one of the greatest challenges for architects. Due to the economy, rationalization, and speed of work, Brazil's largest portion of school projects are designed from prefabricated concrete elements with rigid modulations and, in rare cases, steel. But what may seem to limit at first, can actually become an exercise in structural creativity. 

In an attempt to elucidate the systems used to materialize these projects, we've selected a compilation of seven prefabricated schools in plan and section to create incredible spaces for learning. 

This Company Is Using Prefabrication to Rapidly Deliver Huge Numbers of Buildings in India

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.

"Pixel Facade" System Combines a Love for Nature With Next-Generation Workspaces

Recently shortlisted for the 2018 Design Challenge "Design the Next-Generation Facade" by Metals in Construction Magazine, this "Pixel Facade" system is an adaptive, scalable and repeatable building system that can be applied to various building typologies. The system draws inspiration from our innate desire for nature, also known as "biophilia." The "Pixel Facade" system merges a contemporary office environment with biophilic environments to create the next generation of office design.