Study Tour Fellow Reports

Home Delivery Part IV: System 3 and Digitally Fabricated Housing for New Orleans

by User Not Found | Jan 22, 2009
by: Mrinalini Rajagopalan 



{Left: Detail from the Digitally Fabricated House for Post-Katrina New Orleans/ Right: Front facade of the Digitally Fabricated House}

{Left: Staircase of the System 3 house–in case the units are stacked on top of another/ Right: Looking from inside the living space of the System 3 House–from left to right: the micro-compact house, the Cellophane house and the Digitally Fabricated House}
System 3 (designed by Oskar Leo Kaufman and Albert Ruf/ KFN Systems) is a single-level dwelling unit that debuted at the Home Delivery exhibition. The house is a combination of modular systems (such as the kitchen and the bathroom module) and other elements (walls, interior partitions, etc.) that can be packed and shipped flat. Like the other examples in the exhibit, System 3 continues to respond to contemporary concerns of mass-produced housing such as sustainability, flexibility and cost-efficiency while trying to maintain a superior level of craftsmanship–which was demonstrated by the clean lines of the architectural design and the precision of the interior and exterior details.
Responding to the post-Katrina housing crises in New Orleans, Professor Larry Sass and his students at the School of Architecture at MIT, came up with the Digitally Fabricated House (DFH). Capitalizing on the speed and precision of laser-cutters, the prototype for this type of housing takes on the vocabulary of a typical shotgun house and also gestures to Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s notion of a “decorated shed.” The design also took into consideration the lack of resources in a post-disaster site, which meant that although the individual pieces of the house are produced via a laser-cutter, they can be put together without nails or complicated construction equipment. Indeed, the project designers claim that the entire house can be erected on-site by 5 people using only rubber mallets and bowtie fasteners in under a week.

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