2011 AIA Convention - Integrated Design to Fabrication

AIA convention log

Integrated Design to Fabrication for Urban Housing Solutions (FR326)



David C. Hovey Jr., AIA
Calvin Kam, AIA, PhD, PE, LEED AP


Session Blurb

The restoration of urban infrastructure in cities like New Orleans will require a systematic reexamination of many fundamental methodologies of design and building. These efforts can connect to current trends affecting the architectural profession—ideas connected to sustainability, building information modeling, alternative project delivery, and digital fabrication—through new strategies for urban housing. In this presentation, experts in project delivery, technology implementation, and digital fabrication will explore the intersection of these strategies by proposing approaches for model-based design and construction for housing and by exploring models potentially relevant to urban renewal. Using project examples from practice and research, this session will create a framework for a potential future of housing construction.



The session highlighted a process developed by Optima to go from design to fabrication.  A single family residence of 5000 square feet which they say has been engineered to be assembled in 56 working days.  The way they can do this is by using a completely integrated in-house team. 

The second part of the session reviewed one of Optima’s multifamily developments called Camel View Village.  What they pointed out was that they were able to achieve an increase in landscaping on the site.  The 13 acre property ended up with 24 acres of green space.  They did this by optimizing (no pun intended) every horizontal surface for planting by taking light meter readings as the structure was being built.  This allowed them to know exactly how much light was going to be available and where in order to know exactly what to plant and where.  It was quite nice to see another example of live research data during construction to feed further design refinement of future phases of construction.  There was another great example of this at the 2010 AIA Convention in Miami.  It was a session on The New York Times building.  I blogged about here.  I am always amazed at how much can be accomplished by a truly integrated design and construction team.

Link to session PDF.

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