It is getting awfully close to the July 20 opening of Home Delivery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where five architects are building and displaying seriously cutting-edge prefabs. We will be looking at each of them this week.
Lawrence Sass of MIT has been working with the idea of the digitally fabricated house for a few years; we first met him at Prefab Now two years ago, but it has evolved significantly since then. Imagine a flatpack house that you assemble like a kid's toy.
Sass's team has taken elements of a traditional New Orleans house and transformed it into 3,000 pieces that lock together like a puzzle. Compared to traditional MCA (measure, cut and assemble) construction, SGA (Self-guided assembly) "employs tabs, slots, and grooves to guide the assembly of parts. There is no measuring or cutting on the jobsite—it is assembly only, or self-guided assembly (SGA). From a cost standpoint, we have removed two costly functions from the jobsite (measuring and cutting). From a builder's standpoint, the system is playful in assembly, not unlike building with LEGOs. The negative side of our work is that if we miss cutting a hole or slot in the design, it is difficult to adjust in the field."