“Fast” architecture may be the architecture of the future
Just like fast fashion, ‘fast’ architecture is probably the next big thing in the world of construction. Shipping container housing is much more common today, especially in the US, where building modules are being shipped from overseas and then craned into place locally. This, despite the fact that construction is one of the few industries that has stubbornly remained local, because ‘buildings don’t fit in containers’.
A new housing project for the homeless is being assembled in Los Angeles out of “modular components”. It is designed by Peter DeMaria, with KTGY Architecture + Planning. But the designers refuse to call these shipping containers; they are “steel modules that have the potential to radically transform modular housing” and which “leverage the dimensions and material of containers for highly efficient transporting and construction.” The builder, HBG Steel, describes them.
“In our massive HCD [California Department of Housing and Community Development]-approved overseas factory, buildings are constructed under the scrutiny of US state inspectors and quality control. Buildings are then shipped over the sea and to the site, where HBG or another general contractor will crane the modules into place. The factory schedule is optimized for speed without sacrificing quality, producing precise structures down to fractions of an inch.”
The modules are made in China, which causes some people to worry about quality, but HBG says that “they are inspected each step of the way down the factory line, and rejected if they do not meet the highest US standards for construction.”
“The Hope On team has advanced technology using steel modules that have the potential to radically transform modular housing,” said KTGY Architecture + Planning Associate Principal Mark Oberholzer AIA, LEED AP. “While site work and foundations are done on site, the modules are manufactured off-site, with customized interior finishes and fittings, resulting in highly efficient speed-to-market. The Hope On system accommodates larger-scale buildings on shorter time frames.”
- Modules are transported by truck to the site, crane-lifted and stacked into a single building.
- Each apartment is composed of several modules, modified specifically for the project.
- Floor-to-ceiling windows are completed off-site, as are interior fixtures and finishes such as drywall, tiling, bathrooms.