Page T2.1 . 21 September 2005                     
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    Plugging In Prefab

    by Bill Jordan

    Michael Hardiman spent five years in London using form-Z to design prefabricated building elements for The Forge Company. These elements were then built full size and applied in subsidized-housing projects, including the Beaufort House Project for the Peabody Trust housing association.

    Hardiman explains: "The Forge Company won the contract on the strength of our concept for a hybrid solution. In this, we would fabricate the high-value and heavy items (bathrooms) as 3D modules and allow the larger, lower-value spaces (living rooms, bedrooms) to be delivered as wall panels and floor cassettes. But I like to think that we also won because we could show them (virtually at least) a completed building beforehand and a clear idea of how it would be built."

    Assembling the Pieces

    Development of the steel fabrication drawings for the wall panels, floor cassettes, and hot-rolled steel elements took place parallel to the prototype development of the bathroom pods. The form-Z 3D modeling and rendering software was used to illustrate the pods at different stages of their assembly and to show the refinement of the building's structural design. At the same time, testing was undertaken on prefab terracotta rain-screen wall panels at a testing facility using World War II bomber engines to simulate 50-year storms.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Stacking diagram of prefabricated bathroom modules (pods) for the Beaufort House Project in London.
    Image: Michael Hardiman

    ArchWeek Image

    The Beaufort House Project under construction.
    Photo: Michael Hardiman


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