Modularity + Manufacturing

How does architecture become a situation of form following function? Can this instance be about how the architecture is both that of manufacturing and art? This architectural object can be shown to have a typology that shows impermanence and permanence through materials and manufacturing. The methods for constructing architecture can be streamlined in a factory to create modular units that are both affordable and are of exceptional quality, even if not man-made.

The arm of the gyroscopic robot will maintain the precision of the handcraft that has dominated the construction process. In a way the construction industry is backwards, bringing materials to the site, unaltered, and the construction the raw materials into a structure. Why can’t architecture become an object? This is not to say that architecture is negligent of the site, but that it can not only respond to the site and also be modular or a kit of parts. That instead of a hand-made vernacular style, the future would contain an industrially-made vernacular.

If architecture was mass-produced as a product, an object, the control of the architect would increase. The architect would become a designer of methods and form. The architect could participate in the methods of making the object, rather than remaining a mere stylist. Ultimately the architecture could literally brand their object of architecture. The architecture could break out of the dichotomy of form and function and enter the realm of manufacturing.

Designing and making is no longer linear. Designers work in production and engineers design; materials engineers a draw into the equation early for problem solving. All disciplines work together in collective constraint and inspiration.

It is thought that the quality and scope of the project is equal to the cost and time necessary to complete the project. If the designer could be given more control through industrial manufacturing, the cost and time required to create the building would be decreased while the quality and scope of the project remained the same, or even increased. Thus the equation is now an inequality where quality and scope are greater than cost and time.

The integration of computer software into the assembly of architecture can increase productivity and quality. The advancement of the assembly line in conjunction with the module to create cars, planes, even ships could be used to create wonderful pieces of architecture. Integrated Component Construction can bring subassemblies together offsite to create modules. These modules create the completed product, architecture, on site with as few pieces as possible to be assembled on site.

Architecture can no longer claim exclusion based on attachment to the ground. If architects claim such exclusion, the profession will be marginalized. Architects must meet the growing demands of clients. This does not mean that the architect must know everything in the process, only sufficient knowledge to manage all of the separate disciplines.

The architect can once again become the master builder.


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