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  1. 1. “My vision for 2020 is one where construction methods will minimise on-site labour – more prefabrication. Buildings may be more transportable, moving or growing as required. Sustainability and re-use of building materials will drive materials and construction methods.” [Quote taken from Hampson & Brandon’s 2004 Report by the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation, Australia] 4. PrefabricationOverview Lessons and Strategies Future OpportunitiesThis brochure 2 Transformations: Looking Forward 8 Digital Design: Parametrics 14Background 3 International Trends 9 Digital Design: Digital Fabrication 15Why Prefabrication 4 Prefab World 10 Mass Customisation: Choice 16Terminology 5 Different Approaches 11 Case Study 1: 3D modular 17Relocatables today 6 A Systems Approach 12 Case Study 2: 2D kit of parts 19Relocatables tomorrow 7 Logisitcs 13 Futher Reading 21 Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 1
  2. 2. Marymede P-12 School, Artwork on a relocatable at Wiluna Remote Community School by TAG Architects Pepper Green Farm Training Centre, BendigoSouth Morang Currambine Primary School, by Eco Villages Worlwide WA Stairs of a double storey relocatable by AUSCO This Brochure> This brochure is about prefabrication. Social, economic and environmental factors suggest an urgent need to It is an exciting time to embrace these ‘tipping points’ and explore the interface It presents ideas and themes that can consider new ways to build. These factors between design and manufacture and help redefine the way we design and include: engage architects in that process. construct buildings. “If I had asked people • shortages of skilled trade labour in Although the focus of our research is the 21st century design technologies present many communities; relocatable classroom, prefabrication what they wanted, they us with endless possibilities to ‘rethink’ • need for increased construction has the potential to have a much wider how we design and manufacture and: quality and lower costs; impact on the design and construction of would have said faster • create a shift from mass-production • need to improve construction schools - and beyond - as we seek more horses!” to mass-customisation; productivity; efficient, sustainable, quality-driven and [Henry Ford discussing the mass production of • embrace parametric modelling for economical ways of creating our built • need for more sustainable, cradle to environment. the automobile] site specific, value driven responses; cradle solutions; • maximise the interface of these • increased acceptance of quality It is time to continue prefabrication’s technologies with manufacturing. prefabrication. ‘design-led transformation’. Werkhaus @ Bauzentrum Munich, GermanyMillmont Elementary School, Pennsylvania Student Housing, Spacebox ® by CoCon BV, A variety of styles and approachesby NRB Inc, Ephrata TU Delft Campus, The Netherlands @ Terrapin-Ltd UK 2 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  3. 3. Digital model based on the 1933 Schindler Shelter System by David Lister, University of Melbourne The social and historical context Prefabrication has long played a major and positive role in design and construction innovation, addressing social challenges, urgency, and economic drivers, particularly in the housing market. Although prefabrication is perhaps architecture’s oldest new idea [Harker 2007] , it has gone through alternating cycles of being ‘the next best thing’ orBackground> being shunned. A prefabrication timeline...“Sadly, much of the There are a number of reasons for this: 1500’s Nonsuch House was built in Holland of timber and assembled in London, fixed with • For many decades, prefabrication wooden pegs. It was painted to give the appearance of brick and stone.negative stigma has been used for utilitarian, low cost 1624 + Simple prefabricated houses were transported by ship to new settlements in Britishassociated with projects or products; Colonies [Kelly 1951].prefabrication stems • Historical association with cheap 1851 Prefabrication meant that the Crystal Palace was completed in less than six months. The catalogue housing solutions in Crystal Palace was then dismantled and relocated elsewhere [Kelly 1951].from the building Australia, the USA and UK; 1914 + Prefabrication helped address British and German housing shortages in the post war era.category that’s central • A long association with poor quality relocatable classrooms in Australia, 1916 + Nissen Huts [WWI] and Quonset Huts [WWII] provided a relocatable housing solution forto our research - the the USA and UK; the army. The Nissen Hut typically took four hours for six men to assemble. • Manufacturers have led much of the 1933+ Architect RM Schindler created his Panel Post construction system with 9 baserelocatable...” development of prefabrication, with components [Park 2004].[Future Proofing Schools Research Team] little architectural input; 1950 + Architect Ernest J Kump Jnr designed prefabricated school systems in California. • Concerns from architects that 1950 + Prefabrication helped alleviate the skilled trade labour shortfall in post war Europe....prefabrication is prefabrication will lead to monotony and reduction in choice and variety 1990’s With prefabrication, McDonald’s Restaurants reduced build time from months to weeks.“modern architecture’s [Engstrom et al 2007; Anderson & 1996 Japan’s automated production lines produced high quality houses in record time [Gannoldest new idea” Anderson 2006]; 1996].[Harker 2007] • Psychological association of 2002 Arieff + Burkhart’s book Prefab inspired designers and architects. prefabrication meaning ‘not permanent’ because of its extensive 2004 CRCCI Report Construction 2020: A vision for Australia’s property and construction“a long continuum of industry highlighted the important role of off-site manufacture in future construction use in ‘temporary’ applications;noble failures” • Tendency for these temporary 2008 Waugh Thistleton’s Stadthaus at Murray Grove, London, was built of cross laminated[Arieff & Burkhart 2002] structures to be retained well beyond timber panels which were factory cut by CNC routers then assembled on site to create the 9 storey tower. their design life; • Often, relocatable classrooms that 2010 Sekisui House, one of Japan’s high quality prefabricated housing manufacturers, launched in Australia. are intended to be ‘temporary’ instead become permanent fixtures 2011 Time for a paradigm shift in Australia’s prefabrication building industry... of the school. Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 3
  4. 4. Baufritz Display Village Erkheim, GermanyWhy prefabrication?> Werkhaus @ Bauzentrum Munich, Germany Gruber @ Bauzentrum Munich, Germany“Off-site fabrication Time for Change Speed Sustainabilityis about reinventing Prefabrication is now on government Site preparation can occur in parallel refer Minimum site disturbance, tightly agendas in Europe, the United States and to building manufacture on the factory managed material flow and constructionthe way we build,carefully considering Australia where it’s seen as an important way of improving quality and cost within a floor. This saves time, and can also save money. 2 waste, and pre-planned disassembly can reduce overall environmental impact of slow changing construction industry. we assemble and Quality Some notable reports are: Costultimately disassemble • In the UK, the 1998 Egan Report: It can consistently achieve predetermined quality in a factory controlled Although there is often a cost premiumour buildings.” Rethinking Construction 9 environment. associated with the transport to site or[James Timberlake, KieranTimberlake, research • In the USA, Advancing the cranage, these front-end costs shouldinterview December 2011] Competitiveness and Efficiency of the Safety be balanced against the faster time to U.S. Construction Industry10 occupation which can: generate income In a factory environment most of the work • In Australia, the 2004 Construction can be conducted at waist height. Health earlier; lead to lower site overheads due 2020: A vision for Australia’s and safety is also easier to control in a to less time on site; offer greater cost property and construction industry11 factory. certainty due to minimal weather delays; and provide an earlier design freeze due The convergence of these factors, Skills to requirements of the manufacturing combined with emerging technologies process. and the recent resurgence of interest in In communities with a shortage of prefabrication in the design community, skilled trade labour, the production line Impermanent site means that prefabrication is more viable can be organised to employ less skilled and relevant than ever. labour. Some systems can be installed A client may lease rather than own the or assembled by low-skilled labour under land for a proposed project. Some sites 9 The 1998 Egan Report critiqued the British supervision. may have title or zoning restrictions construction industry as inefficient, adversarial, that disallow a permanent structure. A and slow to embrace change prefabricated building can be moved to a 10 This report highlighted a central role for off- new location at a later date. site manufacture in the future of US construction. 11 The vision included an increase in off-site manufacture but the authors also noted the natural conservatism in the local market.4 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  5. 5. Overview Within the design and construction industries, prefabrication is a broadly understood concept, however the large number of terms used to describe it can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. Prefabrication is an ‘umbrella term’ and there are a wide range of construction types and processes that sit under this heading. The following diagram categorises some commonly used terms that we have come across during our research,highlighting the category of ‘relocatable’ classrooms as just one small sub-set of prefabrication. There are two main approaches to prefabrication: • 3D off-site or modular construction: factory finished modules that are joined together on site. This approach is most commonly used for current relocatable classrooms. • 2D off-site or kit of parts: factory made | prepared | drilled components that areTerminology> assembled on site.“There’s a wide range prefabrication The School Contextof different terms and Across Australia, our States use off-site manufacturea different words to describe the samesystems, so let’s make industrialised off-site fabrication modern methods of type of moveable classroom structures. Currently, Australia’s educationsure that we’re all building systemsb off-site construction constructionc departments use the terms as follows:talking about the same State Term(s) usedthings!” VIC relocatables / portables[Future Proofing Schools Research Team] 3D off-site 2D off-site NSW demountables / portables QLD relocatables modular constructiond kit of partse NT transportables volumetric non-volumetric WA transportables / demountables sectional prefabrication flat pack SA demountables TAS demountables ACT transportables panelised systems In the media, we also hear these relocatablesf skeletal systems portables modules classrooms being described as temporary post + beam systems or prefabricated classrooms, and in transportables units slab + column systems demountables sections the United States and the UK we havea. The preferred ‘umbrella’ term in Australia elements also come across the terms modular trailers pods sips [structural insulated panels]b. Term used extensively in Asia brown boxes classrooms and terrapins4.c. A UK term covering construction innovation component sub-assemblies For the purpose of this document we will to which off-site manufacture is pivotal use the term relocatable[s] to refer to thisd. The most widely used term for this category category of classrooms.e. A commomly used term which is well Relocatable classrooms need to make a full transition from temporary quality towards a permanent quality 4 Terrapin Ltd has been providing prefabricated understood by designers school infrastructure to the UK market for moref. The term used to refer to this category of than 60 years. classrooms in the context of our research Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 5
  6. 6. Overview refer The Department of Education in each Australian State is responsible for procuring its own relocatables, however even within the confines on a single State there is a wide range of climatic and contextual variables. 1 Current relocatable classrooms are generally factory manufactured as 3D off-site or modular units that are transported to a site in sections or modules and installed and joined together on-site, providing significant efficiency, cost and safety benefits. The speed of installation is an important factor as buildings can be installed during school holidays so that there is minimal disruption to the school community. The nature of the modular units also means that they can be moved in the future if required, even if the intention is that they are to be installed as a permanent solution.Relocatables> In Australia, relocatable classrooms are often named after the number of modular units that make up the whole building, for example a Mod 5 or a Mod 10 classroom product comprises 5 or 10 modular sections that are joined together on site.The Status Quo The Mod 5 Classroom product is an example of a typical Australian relocatable classroom.“Relocatables are A typical Mod 5 Classroom [VIC] A typical WA Mod 2 Classroom [WA]getting better in terms 3600 3600 3600 3600 3600of comfort, but they’re Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5 2400 2400 2400 2400 1200still quite ugly...”[A parent, Victoria, February 2011] 3600 Module 1 9600“Recent naturaldisasters mean that Module 2 3600many schools willhave relocatables 1200 2400for at least 2 yearsduring re-buildingprogrammes.”[Department of Education, Queensland]“We don’t use ourSmartboard any more ...the floor vibrationmeans they need to bere-calibrated on adaily basis...”[A teacher, research interview March 2011] A Mod 5 Classroom interior Mod 5 Classrooms at the factory WA relocatable installed at a school6 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  7. 7. How do we develop future relocatable infrastrucuture for schools that appropriately balances: the client brief, end user aspirations, site constraints, transport logistics, fabrication strategies, performanceRelocatables> and economy?And tomorrow? Common problems Future needs Moving forward“This new relocatable refer Heat gain and loss: difficult to manage in refer Relocatables of the future will need to Many of the issues with today’s current ‘generic’ products; respond to: relocatables stem from the challengesis great as it hassliding doors that open 2 Indoor environment quality: acoustics and light levels are often less than ideal; 1 • a range of climate zones; • a range of architectural vernacular; faced by a generic, mass produced product that is required to perform in a wide variety of contexts.on to the deck...” Floors: generally low thermal mass, • a wide variety of physical contexts; Yet they are not specifically customised[A teacher, Victoria, research interview May sometimes undesirable floor movement; • a range of pedagogies and student for any of these contexts, and are2011] ages; generally a ‘one size fits all’ response. Floor level: typically circa 600mm above ground for connection crawl space; • and address the common problems. The challenge ahead is to explore“It would be great if How do you: design ideas that address the complex Connections and views: generally limited, issues associated with relocatability andall the walls were pin- both visually and physically; • develop a design idea that responds transferability.up surfaces, otherwise to a range of parameters and refer Placement: often disconnected from contexts?they just get covered other school buildings, hidden from view; 3 • develop a design idea that is bothin blu-tack.” Toilets: usually not provided due to customisable and economical?[A teacher, Victoria, research interview April distance from soil waste connections; • make it easy to add elements that2011] Extras: no standard range of ‘extras’ that allow buildings to evolve as needs are also ‘relocatable’; change?“We can’t use some of Temporary: often look and feel temporary, • deal with the relocation of buildings yet can become permanent; to new contexts at some point in thethe relocatables for future? Details: joins between modules and otheryounger children as details add to ‘temporary feel’; Other issues to consider are:it’s quite a walk to • procurement models Appearance: utilitarian in appearance, • the role of architectsthe toilet block.” generally designed by manufacturers;[A teacher, NSW, research interview June 2011] • the role of manufacturers Transport: design is largely defined by transport logistics rather than end use. • the interface with end users. Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 7
  8. 8. Supply|Demand nexus Key challenges Key Opportunties The current supply|demand nexus • In Australia, a largely low tech The benefits to consumers far outweigh illustrates that today’s relocatable prefabrication industry needs greater the challenges, so now is the time to start classrooms are largely defined by designer and client demand prior investigating new procurement models, manufacturers and facilities managers. to investing in new digital design new construction systems and a new offer technologies and the associated to the market place. Adoption of new digital technolgies, training. and increasing their interface with • Communication between architects the manufacturing process presents and manufacturers is often limited exciting opportuntities for re-defining prefabrication. during the design stage as a result The following pages of contractual relationships andTransformations> These offer the potential to transform competitive bidding requirements. outline some trends and relocatables, and prefabrication in This commonly leads building opportunities that lieLooking forward general. designers to adopt conventional construction approaches. ahead.“Society needs better Key Stakeholders and their driversquality yet less supply demandexpensive solutions to small number of manufacturers in Australia influenced by perception + stigma limited collaboration between manufacturers + designers future brand/image to link with quality, design, sustainability, valuethe built environment. utilitarian origins in Australia = stigma insufficient current demand to create this shiftTo achieve the challenges challengesnecessary advances stigma manufacturers facilities fitness for purpose volume|demand compliance with standardsin construction, the perceived design limitations manufacturer designed compliance tailored designwhole process needs to resistance to change lack of visual appeal capital costs $ cost of sustainabilitybecome increasingly opportunities opportunities change perception minimal customisation life cycle costs $ change perceptioninterdisciplinary – create innovative products speed + certainty quality + sustainability relocatable maintenance costs $engineering, industrial quality + sustainability lower cost + higher quality lower cost + higher qualitydesign, architecture, design-led solutions old stigma cost of transport $ customisable solutionseconomics, physics, designers modular vs kit of parts sustainability educatorssustainability, problem solving 21st century learningmanufacture...” mass customisation indoor environment[Professor Thomas Bock, TU München, research opportunitiesinterview November 2010] sustainability features all stakeholders work together to: reconfigurable|adaptable overcome negative perception visual appeal create greater demand indoor|outdoor links define new products site integration create high quality, value driven products quality + design design-led solutions modular vs kit of parts source of pride8 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  9. 9. “Prefabrication cannot transform poor design, but prefabrication can be transformed by good design and considered details.” [Professor Alistair Gibb, University of Loughborough, research interview NovemberInternational 2010]trends> Student Housing Student Housing Student Housing HDVN + URSEM BV Mecanoo + URSEM BV Mecanoo + URSEM BVKey Lessons Japan Europe USA• Importance of a strong, innovative In Japan, prefabrication is synonymous In Sweden, a large percentage of The USA has an active industry body, industry body with a research and with innovation and quality, particularly families live in high quality, fair priced, The Modular Building Institute, which development wing; in the housing market. Toyota has been prefabricated houses. In Germany, conducts research and hosts seminar,• Investment in cutting edge applying their lean manufacturing display villages show houses from conferences and exhibitions. Despite manufacturing equipment is a principles to their Japanese housing different manufacturers, demonstrating tough economic times, prefabrication’s significant investment that requires a division since 1976. that there is something for every taste speed and greater cost certainly could certainty of volume; and every budget, and that sustainable give it a real edge in a difficult economic Japanese companies such as Sekisui design is vital. climate.• The housing market plays a vital role Heim work with finite component sets5 in creating demand for prefabrication from which they can offer their clients a European research projects such as Prefabrication in the USA has shared innovation; controlled degree of customisation while ManuBuild6 seek to harness the potential some of the issues of stigma with the UK• Lean manufacturing principles building high quality, architect-designed, of digital technologies to streamline and Australia [Arieff & Burkhart 2002]. and systems thinking are critical competitively priced homes in a fraction manufacturing and building construction. However, in the past decade architects to innovation and development in of the time of conventional site-built From Lapland to Munich there are house have embraced design-led prefabrication. prefabrication; methods. manufacturers use fully computerised This has led to a ‘renaissance’ although• Prefabrication has a vital role to play CAD CAM production lines, many working price has kept some of these ‘designer Most of these companies did not evolve with timber. versions’ out of reach of the masses. in the future of a more sustainable, from traditional craft based construction efficient construction industry; firms, but were set up by building material Hotel chains such as Travelodge build• Architects have an important role to companies to create a showcase for their their hotels using 3D modules, and often play in the design and development products [Gann 1996]. the fittings and furnishings are already in of future prefabrication systems; place. Recently, prefabricated student 6 This industry-led, pan-European research• Architecture Schools in Europe will housing projects in excess of 20 floors project ManuBuild ran from 2005-2009 with 25 increasingly include more teaching have been completed. project partners including the CIRIA, Technical of industrial design thinking to help University of Munich, Loughborough University The UK’s industry body Build Off-Site is bridge the gap between architecture and The University of Salford. Research papers working hard to redefine prefabrication as and manufacture. can be accessed at: efficient, sustainable, and quality driven. 5 In 2005, Bock wrote of Sekisui Heim’s It has have a strong research focus. 7 Compiled from research interviews with prefabricated houses composed from a set of Larger manufacturers are becoming Professor Alistair Gibb, Keith Lyon of Caledonian some 2 million standard components. increasingly innovative and design-led7 . UK, Stephen Wightman of Modular UK and Adrian Day of Terrapin Ltd. Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 9
  10. 10. Gruber DaVinci HausPrefab World>Bauzentrum Munich Elk Baufritz Rubner“The Bauzentrum nearMunich is a displayvillage with somethingfor every taste andbudget... wonderful!It demonstrates arange of prefabricatedconstruction approachesand style choicesfrom differentmanufacturers... Rubner Huf Haus The Energy Centreexcellent quality,energy performanceand value for moneyare common to all theproducts.”[Clare Newton on Bauzentrum in Poing nearMunich, Germany, research visit November 2010] Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  11. 11. 2D off-site 3D off-site kit of parts modular non-volumetric volumetricDifferent approaches> flat pack unitised“The parallel is not Overview 2D off-site approach 3D off-site approachwith building cars on Manufacturers describe a common 2D off-site covers the non-volumetric 3D off-site includes volumetric and scenario of architects approaching them systems including kit of parts, flat-packs modular systems. There are both positivea production line; it in same way they would approach a and elemental systems. There are both and negative features:is with designing and general builder, when seeking a tender positive and negative features: price on a finalised, bespoke design. For:planning the production For: • Manufacture concurrent with site Yet manufacturers are in the business of • Lends itself to mass customisation preparation can significantly reduceof a new car model.” production: they have their own systems, - a ‘family’ of elements can be on-site time;[Egan 1998] they need volume and - where possible - a composed in various ways; level of repetition. • Factory environment not affected by • Well designed systems can be adverse weather; So there is a knowledge gap. assembled with low-skilled labour; • Shift work is possible in a factory Central to the success of prefabrication • Components can be flat-packed to environment; in any project is adoption of a systems + facilitate transport and delivery; • Modules can be joined to create manufacturing philosophy, rather than a • Transport logistics and costs can be larger spaces; conventional construction approach in a less onerous than those of 3D off- • Well suited to projects that can factory environment. site approaches. readily be ‘unitised’. We need to embrace a level of product or Against: Against: industrial design thinking. Prefabrication • Installation not as fast as the 3D off- needs to be central to the design and • Criticism of ‘transporting air’; site approach; construction concept of a project and • Logistical challenge of transport and considered from the outset for maximum • Shortage of standard, inter- associated costs. benefit. changeable products on market. Requires: A key opportunity for the future is that Requires: • Understanding of a manufacturers of architects, engineers, industrial • Careful consideration of components systems and parameters; designers and manufacturers working and their interfaces for effective together to develop inter-changeable manufacture and ease of assembly; • Understanding of transport product families for the market place. constraints; • Building Information Models facilitate design, assembly and procurement. • Careful design of junctions and joints between modules. Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 11
  12. 12. [adapted from Brand, S. 1994 How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, Viking Press] scenery settings services skinA Systems Approach> structureOld and new ideas site“The cradle to cradle Lessons from the past The Six ‘S’ Industrial designapproach to design In 1933, the architect R.M. Schindler Designing for prefabrication requires In coming years, the introduction of of California explored and designed his us to think about buildings and their advanced robotics to the constructiondoesn’t currently concept for Schindler Shelters8 which construction differently. industry will require a different designenter a typical sought to create a new construction Relocatable classrooms bring their approach from architects. Thinking in system that not only reduced terms of construction systems, theirbuilding designer’s construction costs but also improved own unique set of parameters into the equation as building and site are no digital representation and the interfaceframework, yet it will building efficiency, speed of fabrication, to fabrication will need to become part of interchangeability of parts, reduction longer permanently inter-dependent. the future ‘designer toolkit’.become increasingly of labour, durability, better design, and If we consider that different elements of personalised housing designs. a building will have a different life span, These ideas may seem distant howevercritical as we meet then we can start to factor this into the in Japan, companies such as Samsung The beauty of the Schindler’s post andour obligations to the beam system was that it was based on long term adaptability within the life cycle don’t just make computers and mobile only 9 components. It was designed of a building or system: phones; they have advanced robotics andenvironment through a construction divisions. so that components were both easy to site eternalmore effective use of assemble on site and easy to replace or In response to this future potential, a exchange over time. structure 30-300yrsour resources.” number of post-graduate architectural[Professor Thomas Bock, TU München, research This is just one of many examples from skin 20 yrs + courses such as those of the Technicalinterview November 2010] the past. services 7-15 yrs University München are recognising the need for greater training in industrial What could Schindler, Gropius and others scenery - fitout 3-30yrs and product design. Their aim is to have achieved with access to today’s prepare a future generation of architects digital technologies? settings - furniture 1yr + for a greater interface with advanced What could we achieve today and in the Thinking in terms of these layers helps manufacturing technologies and systems. future if architects and manufacturers us explore issues such as assembly, were to work together to develop new disassembly and future re-use. We also systems? need to consider all of these building layers - inclusive of loose furniture and 8 Park’s 2004 review highlights that Schindler’s fittings - as integral to the design and system was – quite simply – before its time. procurement of relocatables.12 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  13. 13. “There are parts of Source: Catholic Education Office, Melbourne the Northern Territory which can only be accessed by barge for around 7 months of each year. This is a real challenge for us when providingLogistics> infrastructure!”Getting to site [Ian Winch, Department of Education, Northern Territory, research interview 2010] Transport Snapshots Strategies“We need to design Transportation logistics play a major role RSPB, Rainham Marshes, UK Designers and manufacturers havewith an understanding in selecting or developing an appopriate explored various systems to address the prefabrication system. This RSPB Observation Platform9 was challenges of transport constraints andof how buildings will carefully crafted so that installation would rapid site installation, for example: • Size and weight limitations;be fabricated and have minimum impact on the sensitive • unfolding buildings, almost origami • Route restrictions; wetland nature reserve. Haysom Warddelivered to the site. style, for example those by Prebuilt11 • Availability of lifting equipment; Miller Architects worked with Modular UK in Australia and Blu Homes12 in theThis is a huge shift • Site accessibility. to develop modules that were craned in USA. These facilitate transport and and installed in a morning, to minimise allow for quick unfolding and site Optimum freight load dimensions:in design thinking for people and vehicle movements. installation; • 3.45m x 12.0m long x 4.0m high aremany architects, but the standard dimensions of a freight Loblolly House,Chesapeake Bay, USA • 3D off-site buildings with hinged container; verandahs or decks that ‘flip up’it can result in a new Working in a delicate eco-climate, all during transport; • The following dimensions arerigour and purity that inclusive of both load + vehicle: cutting and forming had taken place • hinged cladding that flips up during in the factory and the house was then transport and flips down uponis appropriate for the assembled on site. Central to Kieran installation to cover module joins; general oversize + pilot vehiclesfuture.” dimensions * + police escorts * Timberlake’s design approach was that the building would leave virtually no trace • Ming Tang’s conceptual ideas for[James Timberlake, KieranTimberlake, research W H L W H L if it were disassembled and recycled – or folding bamboo shelters13;interview December 2010] VIC 3.5 4.6 25.0 5.5 5.0 35.0 moved to a new location – in the future.10 • transformable, adaptable, folding building structures such as those by NSW 3.5 4.3 25.0 5.5 5.0 35.0“Today’s relocatables Hoberman14 and Quadror15. QLD 3.5 4.6 25.0 5.5 5.0 35.0fit a truck, not a NT 2.5 4.3 19.0 4.5 4.9 30.0 11 experience...” WA 3.5 4.6 25.0 5.5 - 40.0 12[A teacher, research interview April 2011] 9 unfolds-in-north-carolina/ SA 2.5 4.3 19.0 5.0 4.9 26.0 page7/page64/page64.html, viewed 30 June 13 ACT 3.5 4.6 25.0 2011 tang-folding-houses.php 10 Loblolly House: Elements of a New 14 TAS 3.5 4.3 25.0 3.9 4.6 28.0* all dimensions are in metres Architecture 15 Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 13
  14. 14. Example Client Parameters space types headcounts adaptability over time value Parametrically Prefabrication System Driven Customised System Outcome Example Context Parameters climate zone orientationDigital Design> land size topographyParametric Design local skills + materials“Parametrics... a An overview Optimisationpowerful conception Parametric design has been used by Through the use of key parameters of the designers choice, preconceived notionsof architectural design engineers and industrial designers associated with particular typologies can be challenged and rethought and instead, for decades, for example in the design of innovative and optimal design solutions can be developed. Once values representingform ...replacing cars, aircraft, and ships. It is a system of individual requirements are assigned to specific variables, personalised instances are defining key criteria or constraints that we created from a potentially infinite range of possibilities.stable with variable, want a completed object to respond to.singularity with Parametric models have a ‘transactional’ quality that allows a sequence of alternative For many within the architecture decisions to be constructed, exercised, and evaluated. This corresponds to the process ofmultiplicity.” profession parametric design has become design at its most fundamental. These qualities translate to an ability to improve workflow[Kolarevic, 2009] a digital tool for form-finding, leading and be rapidly adaptable to changing input and the inherent precision of information for to exciting free-form shapes for one-off both performance analysis and fabrication. designs.“Architects love From a representation point of view, parametrics allow designers to produce details that However it is also important to embrace are programmed rather than drawn. The rules of generation are always the same but theparametric design’s the much broader potential of these results can be different.potential to create sophisticated professional tools to produce new and meaningful paradigms;free-form designs addressing contextual and real-world issues such as sustainability, quality,...but mention its constructability and affordability.potential interface The application of this kind of digitalwith manufacture or technology is particularly relevant to prefabrication, as one can develop aproduction and many system and adapt it to a specific set ofarchitects avoid the site and other contextual parameters or client responsive conditions.discussion...”[Professor Thomas Bock, TU München, researchinterview November 2010]14 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  15. 15. Kuka Robotic Brick Assembly Robofold Concrete Printing @ Source: Source: Loughborough University Concrete Printing @ Loughborough UniversityDigital Design> A Technology Timeline Digital Design Tools Future technologies 1940s Complexity of form, surfaces, structure Kuka Robotic Brick AssemblyDigital Fabrication and detail in design in recent decades CNC systems created by the US Air Force has, by necessity, led many designers Accurate to 1mm, Kuka16 is a CNC robot for fabrication of aircraft components. to be closely involved in the fabrication that can create unique brick wall panels.“When an author processes and materiality concerns to Following in the footsteps of Uraguan 1970s | 80s enable their projects to be realised. Eladio Dieste’s elegant brickwork,produces a drawing this technology can add beauty and CAD CAM initially adopted by the Such involvement has required the performance to an automated claddingwhich becomes the automotive and shipping industries. As incorporation of this information into system. affordability increased, other areas ofinformation that manufacturing and industrial design modelling and representation. This approach has given designers control of Concrete Printing / Contour Craftingdrives the machine, it adopted the technologies. the digital information that can be used directly in fabrication and construction, A full scale rapid fabrication system,compresses the world of mid 1990s such technology allows for extremely informing computer-controlled and fabrication accurate control over a plastic material. Parametric modelling, building In turn, opportunities of feedback from Opportunities stem from the geometricalinto a single process.” information modelling (BIM) and mass fabrication, cost and performance freedom, single material construction and[William Massie, 2010] customisation begin to emerge to analysis etc. can be integrated into an integration of function/services17. transform both design practice and iterative design process, and prototype project delivery. These technologies and scale models can be easily produced Robofold“Automated technologies dovetail with CNC systems in Japanese to test and prove concepts. prefabricated housing manufacture. Similar in ways to the Kuko robot, it allowsare major investments Increasing fabrication knowledge has for the automation of an infinite number late 2000s reduced the gap between design, of unique metal folding operationsfor manufacturers... so without need for expensive moulds and Robotic systems allow for fully automated prototype and realisation. Digitalwe need to be confident deconstruction of high rise buildings in information enables rapid prototyping press equipment18. of scale models and is moving theof a corresponding Japan. This urban mining approach is very construction industry towards full-scale 16 clean and materials can be reclaimed forvolume of turnover...” re-use. These principles also offer much automated fabrication. 17[Jan Gyrn, Modscape, research interview March potential for future construction. 18] Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 15
  16. 16. Mass Customisation>Consumer Choice Grasshopper Scripting from digital model by David Lister, University of Melbourne“Producing goods and An overview Benefits of re-use Key Opportunitiesservices to meet Architects have generally seen Creating a digital model in which • Architects playing a pivotal role prefabrication as synonymous with mass the parameters of the design and in developing new processes andindividual customer’s products; production which is perceived to be at construction process are retained afterneeds with near mass odds with the one-off nature of architect the first implementation allows for • Creating innovative systems and designed buildings. constant optimisation of all facets of designs adapted to the client, atproduction efficiency.” production; building upon knowledge, reasonable costs and with high[Tseng and Jiao, 1996] The concept of mass customisation experience and capabilities to increase quality construction; changes that. suitability, efficiency and performance. • Architects working with a much“What these It combines the economies of scale of As requirements evolve, new units broader consumer base; production processes with the latent can be introduced to the digital • Automating the fabrication process,technologies offer capabilities of computer-aided design and model further increasing variety and to allow for multiple, high qualityis the potential computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/ therefore personalisation for clients and outcomes to be built from the same CAM) technologies to offer greater choice ‘dynamic stability’ for designers and system at negligible cost;to ‘try before you for the individual customer, improved manufacturers. • Minimising waste;buy’ at all stages control of the total construction process, and flexibility of assembly options. Thinking in terms of construction systems • Maximising performance.of the development is also an important element of mass Key Challenges Flexible design and manufacturing customisation. This suggests a level ofcycle of a building, systems reduce the long term costs of interchangeability from a rich menu of • A perceived loss of architecturalfrom inception to production and logistics while increasing elements from which to compose new design freedom, architects feeling personalisation and customer-perceived design solutions. they are confined within a ‘system’;design, construction, value. • A lack of common, open standardsdemolition and Learning from the experiences of the for building components;rebuild.” automotive and retail goods industries, • Need of increased software inter-[Hampson & Brandon, 2002:22] mass customisation could help architects operability across the industry; to broaden their consumer base by • Current skills gaps in both the providing increased financial accessibly. architectural profession and the manufacturing sector.16 Future Proofing Schools | Prefabrication
  17. 17. Case Study 1>Het 4 Gymnasium“This is a temporarily Project Overview Temporary School Design as the Enablersited school building Approach: 3D off-site | modular The Het4e Gymnasium - the Dutch The architect considered how the equivalent to a grammar school - is modules could be separated andthat is moveable and Location: Amsterdam located in an area of Amsterdam that is reconfigured in a variety of different ways,most importantly of a Client: City of Amsterdam undergoing major regeneration. to respond to a number of possible future scenarios.permament design and Architect: HDVN Architecten, Amsterdam The client believes quality schools are a key regeneration catalyst, so proposed Coloured aluminium panels provide aconstruction quality.” Manufacturer: URSEM BV, Wognum a two step solution: a temporary school colour explosion to the façade, giving the[Arie van der Neut, HDVN] building for 5 years, followed by a school a joyous and playful appearance. Date of Completion: 2008 permanent school building once the The timber rainscreen cladding provides zoning issues had been resolved. texture, and the angled reveals give a depth to the building. Due to problems with the development zoning plan, the school site is currently Integral to the timber cladding are hinges zoned for temporary use. that allowed the rainscreen to be factory finished; the sections that cover the In the Netherlands, temporary buildings – modules joins can be ‘flipped down’ for up to 5 years - are subject to less rigorous transport, then ‘flipped up’ to cover the building codes, and the client initially joins at the completion of the installation. approached architects HDVN to design a temporary quality school for the site. A Modular Approach Permanent Quality The separate modules that make up the school left the factory around 85% HDVN argued that using modular complete. Pre-installed services were construction for a temporary school that ready for connection and final testing on was moveable and re-useable justified site. higher construction quality. The school’s auditorium was created with A core criteria for adopting the higher a frame and infill panel system, showing quality approach was that the 5 year how one project can embrace a variety of temporary building period coincided with prefabrication approaches. time most students would be at school. Prefabrication | Future Proofing Schools 17