Posts tagged with "prefab architecture":

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In L.A., this modular steel frame house doubles as a bridge over a secret stream

Half a block south of Los Angeles’s ritzy Hancock Park neighborhood, a secret underground stream that draws its water from the mountains of Griffith Park runs across the backyards of several unassuming homes. On a quizzical block where each house provides a corresponding bridge to span the stream, Los Angeles–based architect Dan Brunn is busy erecting a 200-foot-long house that doubles as its own bridge. The 4,500-square-foot home is being built using the BONE Structure prefabricated steel construction system, a modular product developed by an eponymous manufacturer based out of Laval, Quebec, Canada. The all-steel system is fabricated entirely off-site and put together on-site, each element assigned an individualized bar code designating its placement. Brunn utilized a five-by-five-foot module “designed around experience, not transport or manufacture” to create the home. The three-bedroom, shotgun-style house is arranged with a carport facing the street. From there, a living room, kitchen, and courtyard extend into the site, followed by a bathroom sandwiched between two smaller bedrooms. A master suite caps the back end of the home, concealing an office space located below that is accessible to the banks of the stream. Brunn said, “The precision of the BONE Structure system is so evident and clear, it’s like seeing the inside of a Swiss watch.” The home is currently under construction and is expected to be complete late 2018.
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Piece by piece, Watch as New York City’s first micro-unit housing complex by nArchitects takes shape

New York City's first-ever entirely micro-unit housing complex is being stacked together on Manhattan's East Side. Back in February, we wrote that the modules for the nARCHITECTS-designed building were being assembled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and now we can report that they have begun arriving at their permanent home in Kips Bay. https://vimeo.com/129103128 The project, which is being developed by Monadnock, won Michael Bloomberg's adAPT NYC Competition in 2013 and was originally known as My Micro NY. It has since since been given the more conventional-sounding name: Carmel Place. Each of Carmel Place's units measure between 260 and 360 square feet and offer nine-and-a-half-foot-tall ceilings. If tenants are feeling a bit cramped, they can lean over their Juliette balconies for some air, or step into one of Carmel Place's (non-micro) communal spaces like the gym, lounge, or terrace. "While there are currently micro-apartments in buildings throughout the city, regulations do not allow an entire building to be comprised only of micro-units," the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development said in a statement. "This pilot project will help inform potential regulatory changes that could allow the development of micro-unit apartment buildings in appropriate locations." The 11-story building is slated to be completed by the end of the year and will have a mix of market-rate and subsidized units, and housing for veterans. The market-rate units will be listed between $2,000–3,000. You can watch the installation process in the video above, made by Lloyd Alter of Treehugger.
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Could New York learn from these temporary affordable prefab homes in the Netherlands?

Affordable housing has been a critical part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda since taking office, promising to create or preserve 200,000 affordable units over the next decade. At a press conference last week, the mayor announced that his administration has made headway toward achieving this ambitious goal, financing over 17,300 affordable homes in the last year (whether his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, should have received some credit for this accomplishment has spurred debate). But even with this good news, the demand for affordable housing continues to grow. To help fix this shortage, the administration might want to take a cue from Dutch developer, Heijmans ONE, which has come up with its own win-win idea for alleviating the housing crunch in the Netherlands: putting vacant land to good use with temporary, portable housing. Heijmans ONE designed a one-bedroom prefab house that can be easily assembled in just one day. The house, which rents for  700 euros or $900, kills two birds with one stone: provides an affordable dwelling and activates empty land while construction is stalled on a project. These sleek, pentagonal-shaped homes are designed to have a small carbon footprint, using sustainable wood and solar panels. Once constructed, the house can be connected to the city’s water and sewage, but also designed to operate off the grid. New York City, with its paucity of affordable housing and glut of vacant land, could benefit from this model. Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Housing Preservation & Development have already started rolling out a plan to develop over a 1,000 city-owned properties. In the meantime, why not bring some temporary, affordable housing to sites waiting for long-term development?
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University of Oregon Students Propose Sustainable Wood Housing in Brooklyn

With their winning design for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s "Timber in the City" competition, three students from the University of Oregon have imagined wood’s viable potential in prefabricated low-cost housing. Wood construction has been a popular topic at AN recently and the topic of our recent feature, Timber Towers. Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton, and Jason Rood entered the design competition last year with the mission to create a community of affordable housing and wood technology manufacturing in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Awarded first place, Grow Your Own City proposes the use of CLT (cross-laminated timber) for construction of nearly 183,000 square feet of mid-rise housing, a bike share and repair shop, and a wood distribution, manufacturing, and development plant. The site itself was chosen as a residential and industrial area “in flux;” it is a waterfront neighborhood and competitors were required to balance these elements in a mutually beneficial way. Grow Your Own City designs a mixed-use community of wood production and housing construction, considering a variety of needs. Cost efficient and sustainable, the community is meant to manufacture its own wood, then use onsite development power and technology to build the final product: affordable modular housing units that can be prefabricated in the factory and fit together to form the mid-rise complex. A “supersize plywood” technology that can be prefinished before construction, cross-laminated timber is stronger than regular wood construction and possesses a low carbon footprint. When forested correctly, wood can be a very sustainable and environmentally friendly building material. Most units include windows on two sides and vary in size from a 325 square feet studio to a 990 square feet three bedroom apartment. Impressed with the students’ “mature sensitivity to zoning, politics, and concerns of gentrification” unique to this Red Hook site, the jury of architecture professors, green design architects, and a real estate venture praise the project for several specifics of design. A “green alley” allows for biking, timber education, and sustainable rainwater retention and reuse. And the CLT pods are attractive, livable, and realistic for a variety of occupants and their families. “Overall, the project is strong because it maps out the terrain of the site while remaining consistent to the larger neighborhood in terms of plan, context and materiality,” the jury commented in a statement.  
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Garrison Architects to Build Modular Pod Hotel in Williamsburg

With one location in Midtown East and another in Murray Hill, Pod Hotel is planning to build a third outpost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Capital New York reported. The hip hotel chain has hired prominent prefab proponents Garrison Architects to design their newest location, which will be built using modular construction. According to Curbed, the proposed mixed-use development will be located on a 100,000 square foot site at the corner of Driggs Avenue and North 4th Street and include over 200 guest rooms, as well as retail, a restaurant and bar, roof garden, roof terrace bar and a series of courtyards. For a faster, greener, and cheaper construction process, Garrison Architects plans to piece together the 50-foot-tall hotel using pre-fabricated, 10-foot-by-30-foot components that contain two rooms and a corridor. If these pre-fab plans follow though, it would join two other recent Garrison projects, a disaster housing prototype on Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn and acclaimed lifeguard facilities out on Rockaway Beach in Queens.
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Unveiled> Philippe Starck and Riko Design Series of Pre-Fab Homes

[beforeafter]starck_prefab_03a starck_prefab_03b[/beforeafter]   World-renowned designer Philippe Starck has earned yet another feather for his cap in a recent collaboration with Riko, a European manufacturer of sustainable wooden buildings. Stemming from a drive to develop industrially manufactured homes that fulfill housing needs across the globe, the pair created P.A.T.H. (Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes), a line of 34 turnkey homes merging timeless design, advanced technology, functionality, and sustainability. P.A.T.H. can be customized from layout and interior finishes to distinctive facades and roofing. [beforeafter]starck_prefab_02a starck_prefab_02b[/beforeafter]   Each P.A.T.H. model is characterized by Starck’s signature design, yet homeowners choose each aspect to create their unique spaces. The pre-fab homes provide a range of housing models that vary in size, number of rooms, levels and floor plans. A configurator allows homeowners to browse and select their preferred models. In the early planning stage, all details of the home are meticulously engineered and rendered. Then, bulky building elements such as walls and roof structures are prefabricated, filled with insulation and finished with closing panels in a strictly controlled fabrication facility. The prefabrication system shrinks the amount of time necessary for on-site assembly, which takes several weeks following the completion of the initial infrastructure and foundation. Two months are necessary for electrical and mechanical installations and to outfit the home with the selected finishes. Total time from start to finish is six months. The most sophisticated sustainable construction engineering has been utilized in developing P.A.T.H.  Only high-quality, environmentally friendly materials are used throughout the production and building process. Wood has been selected as the system’s main building material since it is natural and renewable, giving the homes zero-energy or even positive-energy potential. [beforeafter]starck_prefab_01b starck_prefab_01a[/beforeafter]
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Garrison Architects to Build Prefab Disaster Housing Prototype in Brooklyn

Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects, a firm well-known for its sustainable modular buildings, and American Manufactured Structures and Services, have collaborated on the design of a prefabricated disaster relief housing prototype, which will be displayed in Downtown Brooklyn this summer, as part of an effort to help rebuild post-Hurricane Sandy with a focus on sustainability. The three-story, three-unit modular test structure will be situated next to the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) on Cadman Plaza. The ground floor will be a handicap-accessible 480-square-foot one-bedroom unit, and the upper two floors will consist of two separate 822-square-foot three-bedroom apartments. The preassembled and pre-furnished units will be 12-feet wide by 40-feet long. Once shipped to the site, they simply need to be clipped together and connected to utilities. They also feature balconies that help lower solar-heat gain, provide larger windows, and supply more habitable space. Garrison Architects principal Jim Garrison told the New York Post that the units can stand alone but are also “designed to operate as a row house and be deployed on a city block.” The prefab structures will cost about $1.14 million paid for by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will include gardens in back and parking in front. They can be assembled to form a secure perimeter around an urban street and can be outfitted with photovoltaics to generate their own electricity. Garrison said that the design, which complies with all city codes, would eventually be utilized for high-density, four-story urban housing. OEM and the Department of Design and Construction have been working since the “What If NYC” design competition in 2008 to create a prototype for disaster housing. When Sandy hit four years later, nothing was prepared. Now, after the establishment of more detailed requirements for local codes, the project is ready to go. Construction is expected to begin soon and test residents will move in for several months to offer feedback on how the units work so the design can be modified. View more technical drawings of the structure here.
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Forest City Breaks Ground at Atlantic Yards’ B2 Tower, Shows Off Modular Design

At Tuesday's groundbreaking of B2, the first 32-story residential tower to be built at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New Yorkers got a sneak peek at how the world’s tallest modular building will be constructed. Just beyond the podium stood what officials call the “chassis,” a steel framed box that makes up an essential structural element of the building. “You don’t need to compromise on design when it comes to modular,” said Developer Bruce Ratner. Located on the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, the SHoP Architects-designed tower will rise above the Barclay Center, also designed by SHoP, and offer 363 units split evenly between affordable housing and market rate units. Ratner told the audience that the affordable units at Atlantic Yards will be equipped with the exact same appliances and amenities as the market rate apartments: “You will not know an affordable unit from a market rate unit.” The bulk of the construction of the modular components will happen in a 100,000 square-foot space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with the help of 125 unionized workers, which MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development at Forest City Ratner, said would help in the “reduction of traffic, dust, and waste” and Mayor Bloomberg hailed as “cheaper and less disruptive.” B2 is just the first of more than a dozen residential buildings to come.
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SHoP Updates Atlantic Yards Design as Forest City Confirms Prefab

On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world's tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street. Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what's new. The B2 Tower's massing remains the same as before, conforming to strict guidelines for setbacks mandated by the Empire State Development Corporation, but the facade treatments for each of the three massing types in the building have been refined. "When we first started, we were doing a conventional design," Sharples noted. "We decided to move away from emphasizing the frames or boxes. It doesn't have to look like a modular building." The red mass, nicknamed "the wedge" in SHoP's offices, has been updated to de-emphasize the repetition of modular units. Previously, the facade was comprised of a rigid grid of charcoal-colored rectangles forming deep reveals with red accents."There's still relief, the red L-frames project out from the charcoal," Sharples said. "It's a bit more subtle." The new arrangement creates a series of variegated vertical stripes, helping to create a singular unit rather than a stack of boxes. Similarly on the top-most mass, the grid was softened. "At the top, we emphasized the bevel with pewter gray and silver gray," Sharples noted. The slight color variation helps to emphasize shadow on the facade and unify the mass. ShoP also refined the cladding on the third mass, with a skin of anodized aluminum perforated panels, creating an intricate play of light on the structure. Set back, one final facade—"the glue that brings all three volumes together"—will feature black glass. Sharples noted that prefabrication is a dynamic process. "As we go into production, we'll evolve even further like we did at the arena." Each of the 930 prefabricated modules—called "mods"—will be manufactured at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, part of a collaboration between Forest City and construction company Skanska, where controlled conditions will speed construction times. Each mod will arrive at the construction site fully assembled with all interior finishes and appliances installed. Up to three mods, measuring nearly 400 square feet, will make up each apartment. SHoP has designed the mods with hinged panels on the exterior that can fold down to cover joints during installation. Sharples said these "mate lines" present a unique challenge with prefabricated design and will be some of the only finish work construction to take place on site. On the interior of the units, he noted, walls where two mods are joined will appear slightly thicker than traditional wall construction. When complete, the B2 Tower will house 363 residential units over retail space and will feature roof terraces, indoor bike storage, common areas, and even a yoga studio. Developers are anticipating an opening in 2014.
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Chinese Firm Plans to Build World’s Tallest Building in 90 Days

Move over Burj Khalifa, a group in China has its eye set on building the next world's tallest skyscraper, and they plan to do it in just 90 days. Called Sky City Changsha, the tower envisioned for central China's Hunan province could rise nearly 2,750 feet over 220 floors. That's 32 feet higher than the current world's tallest in Dubai. Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), an air conditioning manufacturer behind the proposal, will prefabricate building components to achieve the impossibly short deadline. BSB has already proven their speed. In 2010, the company built the 15-story Ark Hotel, also in Changsha, in a mere six days, followed by a 30-story tower built in only 15 days (see video below), both using prefab construction. In contrast, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, built with traditional construction techniques, took six years to build. The secret is in their pre-planning. An extensive amount of construction materials—93 percent in the Ark Hotel—are prefabricated, which leaves the final act of putting them together all the easier to speed through. BSB estimates that using factory-built prefab components produces less than one percent of the usual waste associated with traditional building methods while consuming less steel and concrete. The company also claims its prefab structures are earthquake resistant up to a magnitude of a 9.0 earthquake. If completed, Sky City would be a city unto itself. Included in the building's one million square feet is living space for 17,400 people, a 1,000 person hotel, retail, schools, office space and a hospital. Pending approval from the Chinese government, Sky City could be completed as soon as January of 2013. [Via WSJ and geek.com.]
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LEAPfactory’s Gervasutti Refuge

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Built to withstand extreme weather conditions, the alpine pod explores new frontiers for prefabricated architecture

Climbers on the Freboudze glacier can now take refuge from the punishing terrain of the Italian Alps thanks to a new prefabricated shelter commissioned by Italian alpine club CAI Torino. The New Gervasutti Refuge, which cantilevers from the rocky landscape in front of the east face of the Mont Blanc Range’s Grandes Jorasses, was designed and fabricated by LEAPfactory, an Italian firm specializing in modular structures with low environmental impact.
  • Fabricator LEAPfactory
  • Designer LEAPfactory
  • Location Courmayeur, Italy
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Vinyl ester epoxy based matrix, E glass unidirectional fibers, PVC cores, polyurethane paints
  • Process Finite element analysis, resin molding, helicopter installation
LEAPfactory, whose name stands for Living, Ecological, Alpine Pod, began designing the shelter in 2009. Its construction bears little resemblance to that of traditional alpine structures; instead, LEAP used nautical and aeronautical fabrication techniques to create a self-sufficient pod that could withstand extreme high-altitude conditions. The team used finite element analysis to apply wind loads of up to 124 miles/hour and snow loads more than 26 feet deep, while keeping in mind the weight of furnishings and occupants inside. The structure’s primary components were prefabricated by infusing glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) into female molds with PVC cores. These pieces are glued together with methyl methacrylate-based adhesives. Luca Olivari, the project’s structural engineer, applied his expertise in designing boats and high-speed train components to the Gervasutti Refuge project. In a Q&A with Composites and Architecture, a blog by composite fabrication expert Bill Kreysler, Olivari said GFRP is an ideal material for extreme conditions because the fiber’s weight and orientation can be precisely defined in every area of the structure to support high concentrated loads. “The sandwich construction is the best way to absorb and distribute elastically the stresses of the wind gusts and the snow weight,” he said. Additionally, the components were strong and stiff enough to be transported by helicopter to the mountainside site. The shelter is designed for strength outside, but its high-visibility pattern, reminiscent of a classic ski sweater, is meant to welcome mountaineers—as are its interiors. Lit with daylight through a panoramic, anti-scratch acrylic window overlooking the valley below, the 250-square-foot pod has kitchen, dining and living areas, twelve bunks and storage space for gear, as well as a built-in weather monitoring station. Photovoltaic panels integrated into the hut’s outer shell produce 2.5 Kwh of solar energy. The entire structure weighs almost 3 tons and cost the equivalent of nearly $327,000. With individual modules designed for specific functions like eating or sleeping, LEAP’s design allows the pod to be rearranged or expanded over time. The design also allows for replacement of one module should it be seriously damaged. As the LEAPfactory team studies how their first installed shelter withstands conditions in its new home, they will be making plans to deploy similar helicopter-delivered structures in other mountainous locations—a reward for anyone willing to make the trip on foot.
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Prefab Alpolic Units: Rapid type and SUM

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A coffee stand prototype explores new possibilities for small-scale modular construction.

As part of a push to get its products into the hands of young architects, the Alpolic division of Mitsubishi Plastics sponsored a spring design/build studio entitled “Rapid type” at the California College of the Arts (CCA). The goal was for 15 students, led by CCA adjunct architecture professors Andre Caradec and Kory Bieg, to explore new design uses and assembly techniques for Alpolic aluminum composite materials (ACM), which are most commonly used for exterior cladding and signage. The students had at their disposal not only the school’s resources, but also those of Bieg’s San Francisco-based design and fabrication firm OTA+ and Caradec’s Oakland-based design and fabrication firm, Studio Under Manufacture (SUM). Given the college’s location at the nexus of a burgeoning San Francisco food truck scene and students’ proclivity for caffeine, the team landed on design of a mobile coffee service unit as a means of testing Alpolic’s limits.
  • Fabricators Rapid type, Studio Under Manufacture
  • Designers OTA+, Rapid type, Studio Under Manufacture
  • Location San Francisco, California
  • Status Prototype
  • Material Alpolic
  • Process 3-axis CNC mill
The team envisioned a structure that was reliable and cost-effective while bringing a higher level of design and prefabrication to the food truck industry, which has received a boost in Northern California due to relaxed permitting and code requirements. After feasibility and marketing studies, the team began to design a rolling steel structure wrapped in a waffle grid of Alpolic. The cart would shade employees inside while incorporating a wraparound counter that would allow customers to linger or talk shop with the barista after placing their order. Though an encircling plywood base supports the grid structure overhead, the interior is floorless; employees stand on the ground at the same level as patrons. “It also makes cleanup easier,” jokes Caradec. The 9-by-11-by-8-foot structure sits on industrial casters, allowing it to be pulled into place by a vehicle or by hand. The team designed the cart’s waffle grid in Rhino, with each rib section connecting the corresponding perpendicular section with a long notch. After assembling a scale cardboard model, fabrication of 80 ribs from sheets of 62-by-196-inch Mist White Alpolic began in SUM’s shop using a three-axis CNC mill. Exterior plywood shear panels and ribs for the counter and service window structure were milled on the same machine. Those ribs were then wrapped in waterjet-cut 16-gauge mild steel to create the completed work surface. Once interior Alpolic milling was complete, exterior plywood was installed over the hollow steel frame and final measurements for exterior ribs were verified before milling. After interior and exterior structures were built, the countertop structure was put into place. The entire project was manufactured and assembled in less than a week—in time for the students’ final review, complete with coffee service. Caradec’s firm recently applied a similar concept to a prefabricated studio. The design is the workspace version of the coffee station, an 8-by-10-by-8-foot-high office for a writer who requested that the space allow him to recline, sit, and stand during the workday. Like the coffee station, the box is built with white Alpolic sheets, but these have been routed on one side, then folded to create a faceted shape. Because of the panels’ construction, they create a hermetic exterior even after folding. A 14-inch marine-grade teak window wraps the structure, creating visibility from any position. The coffee station prototype design has already received attention from investors interested in putting a line of prefabricated food service stations into production. And other iterations, like the writers studio, could create a new generation of prefabricated structures for a range of applications. “The design can be based on the environment it’s going into,” says Caradec.