Eleven years after the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centers, we are still waiting for the new Freedom Tower to go up.
Yes, there were political disputes on what type of building and memorial would be erected, what security features would be included, what the insurance would pay, and so on.
But then there is also just the shear length of time it still takes us to build a building—a skyscraper, but also other smaller and simpler structures too.
Wired Magazine (October 2012) is reporting on a new method for building construction coming out of China.
Unfortunately, China has been known for some time for unsafe building practices—perhaps doing things on the cheap and then paying for it in terms of consequences later.
Yet, this new technique promises to increase safety, as well as speed, while lowering costs.
If you are willing to give up some building pizzazz, then Broad Sustainable Building is perfecting the prefabricated skyscraper—and these have tested “earthquake-proof” for a 9.0 quake, cost only $1,000 per square foot (versus $1,400 normally)—a 40% savings, and a 30 story building can be built in just 15 days!
Now, Broad says that they even want to erect a 220 story mega skyscraper in 6 months—by March 2013.
Here’s how they do it:
- Identical modules—each section is prebuilt in identical modules in the factor.
- Preinstalled fixtures—Pipes and ducts are threaded through each module in the factory for AC, hot and cold water, and waste.
- Standardized truckloads —with two stacked pallets, each pallet has everything needed to erect a section including wall panels, columns, ducts, bolts, and tools.
- Lego-style assembly—sections are lifted by crane and installed quickly in snap-like fashion, including pipes and wires.
- Slotted exterior—heavily insulated walls and windows are hoisted by crane and slotted into the exterior of the building.
Aside from a standardized, consistent, high quality building—it is energy efficient, generates less than 1% the construction waste, and is safer to construct.
As with the rest of the industrial age, this is just the first step in mass producing—in this case buildings—and like the Ford Model T, which came in only one color black and evolved to meet consumer tastes and needs, these building will soon come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but at a fraction of the cost and the time to build.
This is enterprise architecture applied to building architecture making use of modular design and construction, standardization, and consolidated engineering, manufacturing, and assembly to develop next generation products.
(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)