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Prefabrication: The Latest Architecture and News

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.

Studio Gang Unveils Images of Rippled Condominium Tower in Brooklyn, New York

Courtesy of Binyan
Courtesy of Binyan

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.

Modular Eco-Housing Pushing Boundaries With Cardboard

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.

Wikkelhouse Dordrech. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Close-up Construction. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Layers of Cardboard. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Wikkelhouse Interior. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte + 12

The People's Station / People's Architecture Office

Bird-eye view. © Rui Zhu
Bird-eye view. © Rui Zhu

Windows. Image Courtesy of PAO Bird-eye view. © Rui Zhu People's Canopy. Image Courtesy of PAO Windows. Image Courtesy of PAO + 47

Yantai, China
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project People’s Architecture Office
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project

Design for a Modular House Proposes a Synergy Between Prefabrication and Carpentry

Cortesía de abarca+palma
Cortesía de abarca+palma

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.

This Stone Vault Prototype Creates Almost No Material Waste

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.

© Maurizio Barberio © Giuseppe Scaltrito © Maurizio Barberio © Maurizio Barberio + 29

Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings

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. 

© Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García + 22

See How New York’s Pilot Scheme of Modular Microhouses Was Built

[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.

© Pablo Enriquez © Pablo Enriquez © Pablo Enriquez © Pablo Enriquez + 26

Now You Can Assemble Your Own Tiny House for Outdoor Recreation

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.

© Leckie Studio © Leckie Studio © Leckie Studio © Leckie Studio + 6

House Proposal Using Prefabrication & CNC Wins RIBA Journal's Sterling OSB Habitat Award

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.

Courtesy of MawsonKerr Architects Courtesy of MawsonKerr Architects Courtesy of MawsonKerr Architects Courtesy of MawsonKerr Architects + 5

Gilles Retsin Architecture Unveils Design for Suncheon Art Platform

London-based Gilles Retsin Architecture has unveiled its entry for the Suncheon Art Platform competition, an arts center formed by a low, horizontal structure that frames a series of courtyards and squares in Suncheon, Korea.

7 “Napavilions” to Provide Perfect Snoozing Spots in China's Jade Valley Vineyard

The University of Southern California's American Academy in China (AAC) has announced the seven winning designs for the international Napavilion Competition. Entrants had to design prefabricated wood structures with the sole function of providing space for guests to nap in. The winning designs will be built at Jade Valley Winery outside of Xi’an in western China, with three to be completed in time for the Napavilion Festival in July.

“Mooring Pavilion” by Doing Arch, China. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China "Unlimited Expandable Pavilion" ARBAB & Associates Architects, Iran. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China “Pillow” by Ida&Billy Architects, Hong Kong. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China "Pinocchio's Whale" by Andrea Falco, Italy . Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China + 15

[baragaño]’s #bh01: How to Build a House in 80 Days

Inspired by the mass production of the automotive and aerospace industries, Spanish architects [baragaño], in collaboration with ArcelorMittal, have designed a housing model that can be completely constructed in a factory. Once completed, the house is transported to the site and installed.

The basic model [#bh01] is 39 square meters, composed of two volumes and can be easily expanded both horizontally and vertically in the future. According to the architects, it’s a method that “makes construction easier, generates less waste than traditional systems and increases the safety of personnel involved in the assembly work.”

© Mariela Apollonio © Verónica Carreño © Mariela Apollonio © Mariela Apollonio + 24

Belyayevo Forever: How Mid-Century Soviet Microrayons Question Our Notions of Preservation

Belyayevo, which was based on the example set by the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki. Image © Max Avdeev
Belyayevo, which was based on the example set by the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki. Image © Max Avdeev

What are the characteristics of preservation-worthy architecture? In his book "Belyayevo Forever: A Soviet Microrayon on its Way to the UNESCO List," Kuba Snopek finds uniqueness in the seemingly generic Belyayevo microrayon, and argues that in spite of its pattern-book design it is worthy of protection. In this excerpt from the book's first chapter, Snopek examines Belyayevo's predecessor - the Ninth Quarter of Cheryomushki, which was constructed in the 1950s as an experiment that would transform Soviet housing policy - finding it to be a place which challenges our preconceived notions about architectural heritage.

A foreigner’s first contact with Moscow might begin with Google Earth. Its virtual tour through Russia’s capital starts with a view of its radial-concentric plan: loops of circular roads radiating from the Kremlin are cut through with the straight lines of prospects (avenues) and streets leading from the center towards the outskirts. This general scheme is familiar to any European architect: many other cities have circular boulevards, straight avenues and ring roads.

Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev Belyayevo. Image © Max Avdeev + 22

Prefabrication's Second Coming: Why Now?

nARCHITECTS' proposal for prefabricated "micro apartments" in New York. Image © nARCHITECTS / NYC Mayor's Office
nARCHITECTS' proposal for prefabricated "micro apartments" in New York. Image © nARCHITECTS / NYC Mayor's Office

Prefabrication is not a new idea for architects. It was a staple of the post-war modernist ideal, a great dream that precise modern structures would be created in clean factories and then shipped to site. However, the realities of post-war prefab were far from this ideal; buildings were often poorly designed or poorly constructed, and by the end of the century prefabrication was merely a footnote in the catalog of construction methods. In the 21st century though, prefabrication is experiencing a resurgence. In this article originally published on Autodesk’s Redshift publication as "Future of Construction: Your Next Building Won’t Be Built—It Will Be Manufactured," Autodesk's Phil Bernstein looks at the current wave of prefabrication, and answers the question: why now?

Imagine a 57-story tower built in just 19 days.

That’s what China’s Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) company just did. Constructed at a pace of three stories per day, the tower includes 800 apartments, 19 atriums, and office space for 4,000 people.

And BSB isn’t the only one with this type of ambitious plan for the future of construction. The industry is entering the age of the mass-manufactured building. Prefabrication is growing up, reaching a new level of maturity that is now going to change the industry and define new categories of building. Check the trailer-park stereotype at the door.