The Space of Construction: Elemental Prefabrication

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Virginia Tech


Can a house be a product? This thesis sets out to form a set of basic elements for a minimum house in light of this question that is both functional and aesthetic. The goal is to develop an efficient prefabricated system of construction analogous to a chart of chemical elements. The modular system is then applied to the most basic footprint for a house - a 400 square foot Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Through studying the fundamental parts of a house, a level of understanding emerges, which allows for a projection of the idea as a whole. The ideal of prefabrication posits the possibility of architecture as a system. This idea has attracted architects for decades, despite what appears to be an inherent tension between architecture as a system and the poetic iconicity of the house as a type. A study of the systemic introduced by considerations of prefabrication can offer a deeper understanding of the complex nature of architecture. Finally, can the essence of architecture endure amidst the necessary limitations of factory production and manufacturing in our post-industrial age?



Elemental Architecture, Prefabricated Housing, Kit of Parts, Catalog Housing