Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Research House: a collaboration between student design–makers and a local building contractor

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Authors
McCulloch, N.
Patel, Yusef
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Date
2019-10
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
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Keyword
New Zealand
architecture education
plywood houses
digital fabrication
prototyping
design build
prefabrication
computer numerical control (CNC)
CAD/CAM (computer aided design/computer aided manufacture)
architecture students
Citation
McCulloch, N., & Patel, Y. (2019). Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Research House: A collaboration between student design–makers and a local building contractor. In Laura Harper (Ed.), Annual Design Research Conference 2019: Real/Material/Ethereal (pp. 389-398).
Abstract
Carter Holt Harvey Research House was a summer–school programme designed for architectural students to digitally design and fabricate a small dwelling in conjunction with construction professionals. The design required students to formulate a digitally sponsored construction system whereby small to medium enterprise (SME) construction contractors can collaboratively contribute to the assembly process. In turn, the student’s autonomy was preserved, and regulatory approvals could be gained. The method required the students to use 3D modelling software around the parameters of defined construction materials, using digitally controlled, and standard construction tools, to create prefabricated panels ready for simple and fast assembly. The process is an experiment in synchronizing the rhythms of human and machine capabilities, in an effort to cause efficient and accurate constructions. The findings showcase that the students faced challenges in organizational planning, from the arrangement of production line technique, to timing and speed of site assembly. The students learned that their design details and envisioned fabrication process did not always meet expectations. To ensure for a successful outcome, the students were required to learn how to improvise and amend the fabrication process. The contribution of the research found that the skills and instincts held by contractors and engineers is difficult to translate to digital concepts, until experience with material manipulation can be learned. The possible outcome may be amendments to the integration and strategies of digital planning.
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Monash University
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