In the Genesis flood narrative, Noah built an ark after a call from God, who decided to flood and destroy all life on Earth due to the misbehavior of humanity. Only Noah's family and a couple representatives of each species of animals could enter the huge vessel and save themselves. In the bible, the ark is described in the exact measurements of 300 cubits in length by 50 cubits in width by 30 cubits in height. This was a unit used at the time based on the length of the forearm, measured from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow. A Dutchman who has devoted himself to building a replica of Noah's Ark, without success in finding a correspondingly accurate value in the metric system, used his own body measurements as a module. Modulation in architecture means adapting the project to a defined measurement based usually on a specific dimension or material. Whether it is a meter, a brick, a tile, or a container, it serves to guide the design process and make it more efficient and sustainable.
Prefabrication: The Latest Architecture and News
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Studio Gang has released details of their proposed condominium tower in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City. “11 Hoyt” has been designed with an emphasis on nature and community-building, responding to a lack of comfortable outdoor space in Brooklyn through the creation of an “outdoor-indoor environment."
The Studio Gang scheme, designed in collaboration with Hill West Architects, reclaims a former parking garage site in a rapidly-densifying area, where the population has increased by 40% in twenty years. 11 Hoyt is set to transform the site into an elevated green podium anchored by a 770,000-square-foot (71,000-square-meter) residential tower featuring a “scalloped” façade.
Designed and developed by Fiction Factory, a company of creative makers from Amsterdam, Wikkelhouse loosely translates to ‘wrapped house.' This sustainable modular house is uniquely created with cardboard as its main building material and is customizable in its size and function.
Seeking to connect the traditions of carpentry and the prefabrication industry, Chilean practice abarca+palma have developed a modular house proposal made up of 10 different types of module, capable of forming 5 different house layouts.
The house is constructed in pine wood—using composite beams and pillars—with prefabricated SIP panels.
Italy-based New Fundamentals Research Group recently designed and built a full-scale prototype of an experimental barrel-vaulted stone structure for SNBR, a French company that specializes in cutting-edge stone construction. The structure is named Hypar Vault in a reference to the geometry of its constituent blocks; it uses two types of prefabricated stone modules—one type is the mirror image of the other—whose designs are based on the hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid), one of the only "doubly-ruled" surfaces in geometry. The use of these configurations allowed the vault to be constructed with almost zero wasted stone.
In 1855 the German machinery manufacturer Carl Schlickeysen issued the patent he had recently created, the "Universal Patent Brickmaking machine", the first machine created to manufacture bricks by extrusión as an industrial process.
SCHLICKEYSEN is a modular furniture system based on two types of modular metal supports and standard-sized ceramic curved vaults. All kinds of settings can be configured from the combination of these three elements; picnic tables, continuous benches, grandstands, topographies, and many more typologies can be achieved by just stacking the metal supports and using the ceramic vaults as a horizontal supporting surface.
[In New York] there’s this math problem: 1.8 million small households and only one million suitable apartments. – Mimi Hoang, principal of nArchitects
Last year, nArchitects released a trailer that teased the development of their winning adAPT NYC entry, Carmel Place (formerly known as My Micro NY). The competition sought to address the need for small household apartments in New York City. Now in a newly released video, the full story of the city’s tallest modular tower comes together in smooth timelapse to a dainty piano soundtrack.
Vancouver-based Leckie Studio Architecture + Design has founded the Backcountry Hut Company to bring affordable recreation structures to outdoor enthusiasts. Inspired by IKEA's philosophy of providing superior design at a moderate price point, the prefabricated hut prototype aims to embody the company's four cornerstones: function, quality, sustainability, and value.
MawsonKerr Architects' Low Rise High Density has been selected as the winner of the RIBA Journal Sterling OSB Habitat Award. The house proposal, in the Byker area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, uses prefabrication and CNC techniques to confront issues of substance abuse and addiction.