“The Reasons Offsite” is a virtual/immaterial exhibition about prefabricated and modular building systems. The purpose of creating this curatorial project is to organize, embody and share the research work that has been done by SUMMARY studio for the last three years, as a fundamental tool for its architectural practice. Prefabricated and modular building systems are simply defined as “offsite architecture” hereinafter.
* The exhibition is current in display (from March 16th to 24th) at the Boston Society of Architects (Boston, USA)
Considering that offsite architecture is hardly a new subject, why is it important to talk about it in the present?
The reasons are summarized in 2 facts:
Fact no.1: People are moving around faster in global terms, particularly towards cities, creating a high demand for spaces to live and stay at. Nowadays, there are 3 billion people living in cities, but the number is expected to rise to around 5 billion by 2030, with 2 billion living under the poverty line. It’s the first time in history that we face this kind of brutal increase in such a short period. This means that new strategies need to be defined in order to accommodate this population faster than ever. The problem is old, but its magnitude is new.
Fact no.2: We continuously observe a growing need for speed and cost restraints enhanced by a globally accelerated society, which every day satisfies its hunger for immediacy through the products and services of companies like IKEA, Uber or Airbnb.
These 2 facts, seemingly unrelated, have one thing in common. They both call for pragmatism and set the same challenge to architecture: time and physical resource optimization. These requirements are also the main struggles of offsite architecture, and this project highlights them well. However, it also shows that most of the offsite attempts failed as they didn’t reach the expected scale, rapidity or affordability.
On the one hand, the offsite approach seems to be the appropriate architectural answer for the occurring challenges, though on the other hand the recent history shows that in most cases it didn’t stand its ground in a real-life situation. There are always lots of forces at play and generated conflicts, which ruin the apparent simplicity. In “The Reasons Offsite” exhibition, these conflicts are analyzed from several perspectives, through the critical view of participants with different backgrounds and experiences:
Yona Friedman, Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa (Ensamble Studio), Pablo Jimenez-Moreno, Pedro Alonso & Jorge Christie
Standardization vs. customization, machination vs. humanization, science vs. art are examples of conflicts to be elaborated.
“THE REASONS OFFSITE”
VIRTUAL/IMMATERIAL EXHIBITION ABOUT OFFSITE ARCHITECTURE
The exhibition is composed of two parts:
The project presents a collection of buildings and building systems significant in the historical evolution of offsite architecture. The goal is to create a radiography of the different stages of this evolution.
This content answers four main questions:
When? Where? How? Why?
All this information is shown in a virtual reality environment. Each case is represented by a corresponding 3D model, a text and picture material. The choice of the medium offers the visitor a new kind of experience: to go through a painstakingly composed, unique content about 25 different buildings all around the world, collected in a 20 x 20 m virtual space.
The invited participants share their thoughts on the subject, through a projected display of texts and images. They elaborate the conflicts described previously, trying to foresee the future possibilities of offsite architecture and its potential to address the contemporary urban challenges.
The composition of the project provides a complex experience for the audience: as an input, there stands the research material about offsite architecture in virtual reality, followed by the critical view of the participants.
The exhibition shows some visionary examples of offsite architecture in form of scale models. The choice of the examples was done avoiding judgments on topics such as aesthetics or economic success, and instead, taking into consideration only the features that made those buildings precursors in the field of offsite construction. The models are arranged into groups/motives, representing the main reason the project was conceived for:
The exhibition forms a matrix of models embedded in an undefined space. The lack of a predetermined route (despite the presence of a reference system) and the interactive nature of the exhibits allow the visitor to create his own path through the exhibition, based on his own choices. The interactive system furthermore enables the visitors to highlight only certain themes in order to help understand and decode the complexity of the topic. For instance, they can choose to analyze only the examples assigned to the cost-optimization group, ignoring all the others. CHECK OUR DEMO VIDEO HERE
Virtuality, as a manner to show the exhibition, is applied for three reasons: 1st Virtuality is a characteristic of offsite architecture – it is pro-duced in a place to be used in another context, in a different reality. 2nd The virtual format allows to exhibit in a sustainable, and at the same time affordable way. Transferring the content to the destina-tion doesn’t require sending heavy packages, enabling the elimina-tion of costs and waste. 3rd This is a flexible way to display the information, thus the exhibi-tion is adaptable to rooms with different dimensions and configura-tions. The exhibition is based on Oculus Rift System VR technology.
OS: Windows 10
CPU: AMD Ryzen 1700x / Intel Core i-7 – 6700k or superior
GPU: AMD Radeon rx480 / NVidia GTX 1070 or superior
RAM: 16 GB
HDD: SSD, minimum free disk space 16 GB PORTS: 1 free HDMI (GPU) for headset, 2 x USB 3.0 + 3 x USB 2.0
cleaning lenses during the exhibition
continuous electricity and internet connection
turning on pc(s)
check exhibition operativity and communicate eventual issues to the technical responsible