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If people can start printing out liveable homes for $4800 each in less than 24 hours..

Apr 20 '14 18 Last Comment
Munkk
Apr 20, 14 8:06 am

http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/04/15/has-china-beaten-the-west-in-building-the-first-3d-printed-house/

Those printers obviously have to be programmed, and houses have to be designed. But these codes and prototypes can be found on the net, and can easily be applied to the machines.

This DIY era, I think we're headed to, can't be good for architects. This will only continue to develop.  People will knock out buildings in their spare time, solid, cheap, sustainable buildings , "just for fun". Big companies with some decent draughtsmen within the company will design the buildings for the company etc.

 

How do you think this will develop? What can an architect offer society in 50 years?

 

won and done williams
Apr 20, 14 9:15 am

Why do students always confuse technology for architecture?

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Apr 20, 14 11:03 am

Troll. 

Volunteer
Apr 20, 14 11:13 am

I dunno, a little paint, some serious landscaping; I've seen worse in the Hamptons.

curtkram
Apr 20, 14 11:19 am

concrete without rebar isn't really a technological step forward.  what they built with their 3d printer is still pretty far from a habitable house.  even if you look at the technology to print at that scale or the blend of material to create the concrete they used, this is nothing more than a novelty item.

there are still advances in 3d printing that we have yet to see, so i'm sure in 50 years there will be a difference somewhere along the lines of manufacturing and supplying building materials.  i really don't see how that will change what architects do at all.  maybe we'll have to add a new section to masterformat, but even that seems a bit extreme for what is ultimately a pretty small change in how buildings are designed and built..

Big companies with some decent draughtsmen within the company will design the buildings for the company etc.

that already happens. 

accesskb
Apr 20, 14 12:01 pm

sure.. if your idea of house is a concrete shell..  Only people who might need to worry in a few decades would be construction and trade workers.  Even then, there are probably thousands of tasks that require human hand when building a house.  A house can't be build by just extruding out concrete paste in a line.  And a 3D printer sure wont design beautiful buildings and think like an architect with all their cultural, design, structural, problem solving and sensitive background.  But I can see how this technology gives some hope to those people who call themselves architects when all they know is how to make crappy architectural renderings and don't even know what is behind a simple wall, let alone problem solve more complex construction issues

monosierra
Apr 20, 14 5:32 pm

I do wonder if most non-design people - that is, the vast majority - have pretty low expectations for good design. Whatever works in terms of basic function and cost is "good" enough ("Looks cool!", "Can we afford it?" etc), and the "cultural, design, structural, problem solving and sensitive background" value that architects bring to the game is just less ... valued for most clients, especially for residential design.

By the way, I'm coming from a non-design background.

geezertect
Apr 20, 14 6:17 pm

I do wonder if most non-design people - that is, the vast majority - have pretty low expectations for good design

The vast majority of buyers want what everybody else has, regardless of what they say.  They want others to like it, be inpressed by it, and most definitely not to laugh at it behind their backs.

bowling_ball
Apr 20, 14 7:19 pm

We're guilty of this as designers AND in our everyday lives. And we're supposed to at least be aware of this. That probably makes us worse. 

grneggandsam
Apr 21, 14 2:46 pm

It would be great if Americans finally had the opportunity to rid ourselves of the shackles of debt and spend money freely - the way capitalism is supposed to work.  Unfortunately with zoning and building codes the way they are, I don't think its going to happen.  The control freaks / oligarchy will never let it happen.

grneggandsam
Apr 21, 14 2:57 pm

Only those who aren't good at developing quality space will dislike this.  If you think architecture is just about developing standard factory-like buildings, then the robots will catch up with you.  If you can design, no robot will ever reach you.  You will control the robots.

ayg2102
Apr 21, 14 4:46 pm

come on guys, 

there is so much potential in this. just learn how to code and you'll be fine.  

grneggandsam
Apr 21, 14 4:55 pm

code can be copied, mass produced, made free.  Design and innovation is new every time.  Nothing can replace creativity.

grneggandsam
Apr 21, 14 5:03 pm

I think a better question is: how can anyone become licensed if they need very few worker bees to build a building?  We need reform, not an over controlled system fighting against itself.

mightyaa
Apr 22, 14 12:02 pm

code can be copied, mass produced, made free.  Design and innovation is new every time.  Nothing can replace creativity.

Lol.  Tell that to Richmond, Pulte or Shea Homes.  The vast majority of residential design is cookie-cutter mass produced housing on a global wide level.  Go to Atlanta, then to LA, then Denver, then Seattle.  And you'll find the same "custom" house built from the same plans. 

Carry it a bit further; Branding.  McDonalds, your Audi dealership, or whatever.  Multiple studies have found familiarity "comforting".  So, they all look and feel the same on purpose to generate loyalty.  

Herd mentality rules.  Just saying...  I agree that creativity and regional character are important for spaces; But there's a lot of folks that only feel secure in the familiar and predictable.  

grneggandsam
Apr 22, 14 12:32 pm

Herd mentality rules.  Just saying...  I agree that creativity and regional character are important for spaces; But there's a lot of folks that only feel secure in the familiar and predictable.

 

As much as it hurts to admit, maybe you are right (for the most part).  Herd mentality also is likely to blame for just about every recession.  If you thought outside the box and invested in gold when everyone invested in housing, you could have profited massively. Right now, I think the herd mentality has switch to the stock market.  The stock market for the most part is just a popularity contest.  Once people realize that the sponge has become saturated and the investments aren't returning, it will crash again (I bet in about 2-3 years).

 

However, many people also prefer specialization, and the number that do is growing.  This is partly because they feel uncomfortable unemployed which is the end result of herd mentality and mass production.  Also, I don't think home builders quite have the same reputation as Audi.  When a home is built to code, its generally pretty safe.  Fear of inadequate quality is a big driver of herd mentality.

Volunteer
Apr 22, 14 12:37 pm

Connor homes (conner building.com) of Vermont seems to have found a niche. They prefabricate mostly Federal and Greek revival style homes and ship them to the owners site. One of the representatives works with the local builder during construction. The designs are modified by their in-house architects to be site-specific and account for the owners tastes. 'Familiar and predictable'? Maybe, but very attractive to a lot of people who are turned off by McMansions AND Gehry.

grneggandsam
Apr 22, 14 1:50 pm

Volunteer - although I personally might want to live in something more modern, I can see what is appealing about Connor Homes.  I think making each design unique to the owner's taste is a good direction to go in.  They look nice, as well.

dia
Apr 22, 14 7:37 pm

code can be copied, mass produced, made free.  Design and innovation is new every time.  Nothing can replace creativity.

Yes, but design and innovation is expensive - particularly for one-off projects - witness the 5% of buildings that are architect-led, think that's a coincidence?

There is creativity in designing systems that produce houses in this way. The expensive part of a manufacturing process is the front end process itself - after that, its all about scale.

The next step is removing the constraints of production at scale - machine set up, panel or volume production, programming changes etc. You can buy machinery from Germany now to allow you to set up a prefabrication process. Where this is different is that you are essentially creating a building from a liquid, which has far less constraints in terms of manufacturing constraints and building products.

Anyone who sees the initial product and sees that as a finishing point is finished - I have said for many years that anything that can be programmed will be programmed, and the typical problems in architecture that need to be solved - structure and weather-tightness - can easily be resolved as part of a manufacturing process.

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