Mass Customisation Of Residential Open High-Rise Through Web-Based Prefabrication Design

Huiyao Hu National University of Singapore
Patrick Janssen National University of Singapore

Mass Customisation of Residential Open High-Rise through Web-based Prefabrication Design Topic Contemporary residential high-rises are typically characterised by their homogeneity and repetition. (Heckmann, 2016). The apartments share the same generic floor plans, designed for idealised nuclear families (Nagore, 2014). However, modern day citizens are diverse and are often very far from the idealised nuclear family. When these citizens are forced to conform their lives to these generic floor plans, it limits their ability to flourish and thrive. Since the 1960s, practitioners and researchers have proposed alternative visions, of adaptable housing solutions where residents are offered greater flexibility. More recently, researchers have proposed digital platforms for participatory design that will allow apartment designs to be adapted to the specific requirements of the residents (Ma & van Ameijde, 2021; Lo, Schnabel & Moleta, 2017; Lee & Li, 2007; Chien & Shih, 2000). We refer to these types of approaches as “configure-your-apartment” (CYA). Problem One of the key issues with CYA schemes is the ability to change apartment configurations after the initial construction of the building has been completed. The existing research focuses on creating configurations before construction starts. The idea of changing configurations after completion of the building is only discussed conceptually. Methods of achieving such adaptability are not developed in detail. Such methods would need to include two complementary parts: a) a constructional system that would allow apartment configurations to be changed, and b) a negotiation platform that would allow residents to achieve agreement on possible future changes. Solution This research proposes a novel CYA approach that allows apartment configurations to be continuously modified and changed over the lifetime of the building. The proposed approach includes both a novel constructional system and a novel negotiation platform. The CYA constructional system follows the open building concept (Habraken, 2021) using a steel-timber hybrid structure (Loss, Piazza & Zandonini, 2016). The structural load-bearing steel frame defines the maximum extent of the building and is designed to last more than a hundred years. The apartment infill consists of prefabricated panels that define the floors, walls, and ceilings of the apartments. The panels are create using cross-laminated timber construction methods. The CYA negotiation platform consists of a web application that allows residents to buy and sell spaces within the frame. When buying spaces, residents can propose new infill apartment configurations. When proposed changes have potentially negative impacts on neighbouring apartments, the platform enables residents to negotiate between themselves to resolve any conflicts. Experiment This paper focuses on a prototype of the CYA web application that allows residents to create apartment infill designs within the structural frame. Residents may either create brand new apartments or modify existing apartments (reconfigure or resize the apartment). The web application provides a 3D user interface that allows residents to select spaces in the structural frame, and to populate those spaces with prefabricated infill panels. Users can select from a range of different infill panels, including floors, walls and ceilings. The user interaction is highly simplified using a gamified approach, to make it easy for residents. Various modelling rules are enforced so that the creation of invalid or anti-social designs becomes impossible. Additional components are proposed for future implementation, including components for buying and selling spaces, for giving feedback on performance and cost, and for negotiating with neighbours. Results In order to test the prototype CYA web application, two user-studies have been conducted. The first group consisted of architectures students, while the second group consisted of citizens with no architectural training. In both cases, the users were asked to create apartment configurations that fulfilled specific requirements. The results show that that in both cases, users were able to create apartment configurations with ease. References Chien, S. F., & Shih, S. G. (2000). A Web Environment to Support User Participation in the Development of Apartment Buildings. In Special Focus Symposium on WWW as the Framework for Collaboration, InterSymp 2000 (pp. 225-231) Habraken, N. J. (2021). Supports: an alternative to mass housing. Routledge. Lee, J. H., & Li, T. C. (2007). Fuzzy-based Direct Manipulation: focused on user participation in apartment plan design process. In 12th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia. Lo, T. T., Schnabel, M. A., & Moleta, T. J. (2017). Gamification for user-oriented housing design. In CAADRIA 2017-22nd International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia: Protocols, Flows and Glitches (pp. 63-72). Loss, C., Piazza, M., & Zandonini, R. (2016). Connections for steel–timber hybrid prefabricated buildings. Part II: Innovative modular structures. Construction and Building Materials, 122, 796-808. Ma, C. Y., & van Ameijde, J. (2021). Participatory Housing: Discrete Design and Construction Systems for High-Rise Housing in Hong Kong. In 26th CAADRIA Conference – Volume 1 (pp. 271-280) Nagore Setién, I. (2014). Towards an open and user driven housing architecture: Layers principle, infrastructure types and technical devices. In I Congreso Internacional de Vivienda Colectiva Sostenible, Barcelona, 25, 26 y 27 de febrero de 2014 (pp. 96-101). Máster Laboratorio de la Vivienda Sostenible del Siglo XXI. Heckmann, Oliver. (2016). Operative Design Strategies for High-Dense Living in Asian Cities. In European Network for Housing Research Conference 2016.

Keywords: Mass Participation, Modularity, User-Driven Design, Prefabrication, Open Building, Web Application, Gamification

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