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Virginia Tech Center for Design Research

The Concept

Why can’t we manufacture buildings the way we build cars, planes or ships?

With efficient and accurate industrialized tools, CNC processes and assembly line production, manufactured buildings can be of higher quality, less expensive, and fully integrate more advanced digital systems and physical assistance electronics.

Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS research proposes an alternative to conventional construction: a pre-fab delivery method for assembling medium and high density urban housing which can be less expensive, safer, energy-efficient and of the highest quality. Additionally, the advanced integrated electronics that we expect to have in our homes today can be immediately integrated into the construction and assembly process.

The FutureHAUS Kitchen is a modular "cartridge" prototype for this building process which explores the possibilities of prefabricated architectural components for a home.

We propose that kitchens, bathrooms, audio visual walls, mechanical rooms and closets can be preassembled as "cartridges" in cabinetry manufacturing plants and shipped as pre-finished, pre-plumbed and pre-wired assemblies to the modular frame assembly line. The process allows for a much more sophisticated kitchen product since the "whole" kitchen can be wired with interconnected smart building technologies.

The FutureHAUS Kitchen can be accessed and controlled through a whole-house interface which manages and monitors appliance performance and energy use. The kitchen is "wired" with electronic actuators and sensors that make using the kitchen easy, more accessible and energy efficient. The goal must be to integrate smart technologies into a prefabricated system while elevating the human experience of all kitchen activities: shopping, cooking, and socializing.