For about a century, architects and developers have dreamed of the promise of factory-based construction — after all, if Henry Ford revolutionized the auto industry with assembly lines, why shouldn’t we be able to make buildings in factories, too? But, in North America at least, almost every attempt to revolutionize this industry has failed. But now, thanks to innovations in design, materials, and machinery — and a green wave taking over the industry — factory-based construction could be an idea whose time has finally come.
In this episode:
* [0:01 - 3:11] We take a fun trip back in time to Expo 67 and explore why the influential prefabricated concrete building Habitat 67 was just too ahead of its time.
* [3:35 - 8:26] Northeastern University architecture professor Ivan Rupnik relays the history of factory-based construction, including Operation Breakthrough, the U.S.’s initiative to out-build the Soviet Union during the Cold War
* [8:46 - 16:28] Sidewalk Labs Director of Product Design for Buildings Karim Khalifa and Associate Director of Building Innovations Lily Huang describe how Sidewalk Labs is developing an architectural kit of parts to allow architects to build with quality, speed, and sustainability
* [16:43 - 22:30] Architect and author Susan Jones shares her experiences building her own prefabricated mass timber house and working on the committee to change international building code for mass timber
To see images and videos of topics discussed in this episode, read the link-rich transcript on our Sidewalk Talk Medium page.
City of the Future is hosted by Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk, and produced by Benjamen Walker and Andrew Callaway. Mix is by Zach Mcnees. Art is by Tim Kau. Our music is composed by Adaam James Levin-Areddy of Lost Amsterdam. Special thanks to Ivan Rupnik, Karim Khalifa, Lily Huang, and Susan Jones.