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Prefabrication: The Latest Architecture and News

Glass Windows and Doors in 5 Prefabricated Projects

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The benefits of prefabrication are by now well-documented: prefabricated construction is cheaper, faster, better for the environment, and more consistent than traditional forms of architectural construction. At the same time, it can be used for a wide range of unique designs, calculated to meet a client’s specific needs. To take advantage of these many benefits, however, the prefabrication systems and products themselves must meet a certain standard of quality and flexibility.

Below, we consider five architectural projects using custom glass windows and doors by Western Window Systems, each designed to maximize utility for prefabricated and modular construction logics. Beyond their suitability for prefabricated construction, these products also maximize views, aesthetics, and functionality, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor living.

"Traditional Construction Is Doomed To Disappear:" Interview With the Portuguese Office Summary

Contemporary challenges and developments in technology inevitably trigger changes in the way we design and build our cities. SUMMARY, one of ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021, is a Portuguese architecture studio focused on the development of prefabricated and modular building systems. Striking a balance between pragmatism and experimentalism, the firm develops prefabricated solutions in order to respond to a driving challenge of contemporary architecture—to speed up and simplify the construction process. Founded in 2015 by the architect Samuel Gonçalves, a graduate of the School of Architecture of the University of Porto, the studio has presented at prominent events such as the 2016 Venice Biennale. We talked with Samuel about the firm's practical experience in prefabrication and modulation, as well as their experiments and forays into research.

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3D Printing, Prefabrication, and Interior Design: Construction Trends for 2022

Jorge Drexler sings, in one of his songs, that “we always look at the river, contemplating the other riverbank”. Beyond understanding everything that was done, looking back at the past year can serve to get some clues about the future. This 2021, we published more than 160 articles in the Materials & Products section, covering a wide range of topics. From complex concepts such as 4D printing or very little processed materials such as hempcrete and bamboo, drawing a retrospective of the covered themes and understanding what interested our readers the most is an interesting exercise to foreshadow some trends in the future of the construction field. Looking at our most viewed articles, three large themes are evident: 3D printing, pre-fabrication, and interior renovation. Below, we present a compilation of each topic, reflecting on what we can dare to say about the trends in the construction industry that should consolidate in 2022.

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

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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

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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

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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

The Use of Prefabrication in 6 Emergency Projects Around the World - Featured Image
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.

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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.

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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

Prefabricated Public Schools: 7 Brazilian Projects in Plan and Section - Image 7 of 4
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.