Innovating construction with modular systems and…. digital technologies
Designing and constructing new buildings with conventional design and construction methods can be time consuming and costly. Moreover, traditional methods are less efficient both in terms of energy consumption and maintenance, making it more difficult to fully realize the potential of Smart Cities and Communities in the context of a globally sustainable society. For this reason, in the wake of a vibrant design tradition that dates back to the Bauhaus movement, new methods have been introduced in the construction industry, mainly based on modular and prefabricated systems, to address the design challenges of our society. No doubt, they have started to give rise to a variety of new exciting developments and visions both at the urban and societal levels.
On the one hand, Modular Prefabricated Construction systems are gaining momentum today because they improve productivity, efficiency, and workplace safety along with reducing the time and cost associated with building activities. Indeed, it is estimated that modular construction accounts for 30% to 50% time savings over their traditional counterparts. On the other hand, modular construction systems, coupled with advanced digital tools, have the potential to enhance human creativity thus enabling architects, designers, construction companies, developers and people to collaborate in the realization of innovative, socially compatible, more sustainable and energy efficient buildings and infrastructures.
This is the case of e-FRAME, a new Modular prefabricated system, designed by Italian architect Aristide Terenzi, already winner of architectural competitions, and advocate of a systemic approach to Architecture. Inglobe has partnered with Arch. Terenzi by helping him visualize a simple demonstrative housing typology based on e-FRAME with VR and AR technologies.
The idea of e-FRAME
e-FRAME is based on the very simple idea of an innovative structural node and rods that can be combined together at will to create buildings of varied complexity. The system is assembled with dry construction techniques, thus making it suitable for very quick and effective setup of buildings under different climatic conditions and at different latitudes.
The solution is designed to easily host all the technological systems that make the resulting building a Smart Building. All the systems including, the electrical, informational, heating, power production and hydraulic systems can be easily integrated into the backbone of the structure of the building.
Special attention is paid to the energy efficiency of the building. Both passive and active energy systems, including photovoltaic panels can be easily installed on the structure and plug into its electric grid, thus providing for the energy consumption of occupants.
The system is suitable for creating a variety of flexible and robust architectural typologies that span from residential to commercial, industrial, healthcare and infrastructures.
Informed by the spirit of the Bauhaus movement, the solution intends to support the development of original and unique buildings based on modular and flexible components while supporting the self-organization processes of our modern societies as opposed to the standardized top-down approaches of traditional urban planning and design.
e-FRAME as Sustainable Architecture
e-FRAME is designed to implement sustainable solutions in Architecture at different scales, from single housing units to large urban infrastructures and sectors. The solution is suitable to host both passive and active energy efficient systems, including leaning greenhouses and solar power. This confers to e-FRAME based solutions a high level of energy efficiency thus reducing the carbon footprint of the building itself and improving its cost-effectiveness.
e-FRAME as a structurally Smart Building
It is well understood that IoT and digital solutions will improve overall building performance over the years, thus reducing cost across the whole building life cycle. e-FRAME is designed to include sensors and actuators to both monitor and modify the state of the building parameters in order to maximize living comfort and building efficiency. Sensors can be used to monitor the structural integrity of the building.
e-FRAME is suitable both for Relocatable and Permanent Buildings
Permanent modular construction has emerged as an alternative to traditional building methods over the past decade. In 2018, the permanent modular segment held the largest share of 64.4% on account of the growing demand for permanent housing, commercial, and industrial structures. The increasing financial outlay for the development of affordable housing structures coupled with the rapid growth of the industrial sector in developing economies is expected to augment the market growth. Relocatable modular structures are utilized to provide temporary accommodations for workers at the worksite. Relocatable modular structures are also utilized by a variety of end-users including local governments, industrial corporations, school boards, healthcare providers as makeshift offices, healthcare clinics, temporary hotels, and schools. Healthcare applications of modular structures is a need that strongly emerged during the pandemic in 2020, which highlighted the importance of having quick and cost-effective solutions to build infrastructures under a state of emergency. e-FRAME is specifically designed with this need in mind.
e-FRAME VR and AR Experience
We have built an immersive experience to let users explore a simple prefabricated housing unit typology in 1:1 scale. The immersive experience has both a VR and an AR component. The VR experience is accessed via a standalone application for Oculus Rift S and allows users to virtually explore the building as a virtual environment (see video).
The AR experience is accessed via the AR-media mobile app and allows users to explore the building in 1:1 scale anywhere in the world by using either iOS or Android devices. Thanks to AR-media, the smartphones can be coupled with a mobile VR headset to enable an immersive AR experience which makes the content much more enjoyable.
Thanks to AR-media, it is possible to explore endless design possibilities based on the same modular prefabricated system. Customers can participate in the design process and decide over the most relevant design choices in terms of both the interior and exterior organization of the space.
Nothing short of amazing, you can freely experience the e-FRAME housing unit with AR-media. Download the app on the stores and search for the e-FRAME experience in the Featured projects area of the app to start the experience.