What if architecture became more automated and less susceptible to costly on-site errors? We wonder if such a process could ever exist in our world.
Admittedly, we are curious to know where the conversation should begin. Perhaps it's as simple as creating a collision between the greatest thinkers in our industry. Bringing these collective brains together could be the answer to a very complicated idea; making for a very simplistic design future. How do we as a community eliminate the extensive cost of new building without eliminating the tradesman or the customization?
In our first Clockwork forum, we analyzed the downsides to the current prefabrication process. First diving into the preconceptions we have, then studying the history of prefabrication, and finally analyzing BUILD LLC's article, "Pre-Fab Houses Don't Work."
Our team has come to some conclusions from our heated debates and discussions that seemed to touch every topic architects consider:
To achieve a successful automated future, it would take a complete overhaul of our traditional building paradigm (which is to gather all the parts of a building on site and then assemble them piece by piece). The future of construction is quite the opposite. We envision a future where sub-assemblies, or components, are produced in a factory by tradesmen with the assistance of automation. Once all the components are completed, they can be packed and delivered for construction, AKA assembly! A solution must be developed to deal with the unique quality of every earthen site so as to streamline foundations and utilities.
Complete customization through automation, and solutions to each specific issue that manifests, must be done with new software developments and true collaboration between the disciplines. This may be the new future for architects, a time for us to be the "process engineer" and lead material scientists, engineers, and construction as our profession once did …