As contemporary information technology percolates building culture, the potential to industrialize entirely personalized and personalizable building systems expands. Software and hardware platforms allow users to interact more directly and define their environments. Building information modeling, large scale 3d printing and all manner of numerically controlled cutting devices are reforming the way buildings are designed and built. This greater personalisation potential consequently repositions an argument in favour of generic collective infrastructures capable of sustaining individualization particularly in terms of the collective housing block.
Framed as “supports and infill” John Habraken’s theories are increasingly relevant as customizable kits could be designed and manufactured to be simply fitted into a common substructure. The mega-structure plug and play capsule architectural discourse and aesthetic synonymous with the second half of the twentieth century proposed a utopia of fully modular, transformable and adaptable dwellings. As migration patterns and expanding populations increase the need for adequate, affordable, flexible and dense housing solutions, the mega-structure has reintegrated architectural exploration.
A speculative proposal by Edge Design - Gifu Kitagata housing interprets the generic structure’s potential. It proposes networks and infill patterns based on vertical communities, each with their own light building system. This type of vertical spatial organization and development explores the mega-structure as an active component supporting individualized dwellings and community development. Envisioning a future where mega-structures offer more than a support structure, “the pod vending machine” designed as a competition pitch by Haseef Rafiei proposes a veritable construction machine: A vertical skeletal frame integrating a capacity for generating individual dwellings. The conceptual project proposes a unique user experience in terms of dwelling procurement. Combining the contemporary microdwelling with a superstructure modular frame that acts as a giant 3d printer and crane, the machine deposits and positions dwellings as required. Further, dwellings can be repositioned over time and offer potential to be adapted for different needs. Historical precedents such as the Nagakin Capsule Tower (1972) by Kisho Kurukawa imagined similar futurist systems where dwellings are interchangeable consumables. Here in a similar proposal users not only can choose their pod but also have it the way they want it as the just in time production crane delivers a user-defined dwelling.
|Capsule Tower - Gifu Kitagata Housing - Pod Vending Machine|