There's no doubt that digital fabrication is revolutionizing the design, production and distribution of products -- but there's also housing, with computer-aided manufacturing making it easier and quicker to create, pre-assemble and put together a fully-customized house.
Built earlier this year on Barcelona's waterfront, the Solar House 2.0 (also called Endesa Pavilion) is a house that has an extruded facade, equipped with solar panels. Each solar-panelled extrusion is angled differently to best adapt to the path of the sun as it moves over the house's site -- with each positioning pre-determined and tweaked on a computer before the facade was built. The configuration of the cantilevered pieces and customized window sizing also controls the interior solar heat gain.
Best of all, digital fabrication methods change the way the house was constructed, since each irregular piece is pre-cut by a machine that doesn't need the pieces to be all the same to optimize production. Yet, there is an element of multi-scalability in the process, thanks to the software and algorithms used.
Project leader Rodrigo Rubio of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia likens it more to putting together a puzzle, where the pieces of the house are pre-assembled and "dropped" into a conventional structural frame. The process allowed the team to pre-assemble the various components in three weeks, with actual construction taking only an impressive two weeks to complete.
It's an eye-opening prototype demonstrating how buildings can be digitally customized to be dynamic and climatically-appropriate within its site, and how digital tools could empower people to move beyond rigid and locally-irrelevant standardization of building forms. More over at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.