Ways of Prefab-ing

Research + Publication

‘Ways of Prefab-ing’ is a multi-format editorial project, developed in collaboration with INST, which presents a review of the studio's production through the notion of prefab-ing, a neologism (distinct from Prefabricating) that refers to a 'state of disposition' to think and produce from the prefab.
→ Download the publications

Ways of Prefab-ing #01 analyzes the Sacromonte Chapel, a work consisting of a total of 403 pieces, including 8 panels of solid Cross-Laminated Timber [CLT] that structure and characterize it.

While its materialization began thirty years ago in a plantation in a nursery in the Basque Country, it arrived at the port of Montevideo by boat from Portugal, and its installation in the Uruguayan hills was completed in just one day.

The review exercise focuses on its CLT pieces to create an inventory of the processes and devices that were necessary to manufacture them, to create a forensic reconstruction of the journey from the trunk to the space to make its source code visible. It is, then, a decentralized work notebook, a conglomerate of raw materials, actors, devices, software, movements, means of transportation, robots, machinic orders, and, in certain instances, human creativity.

Ways of Prefab-ing #02 revisits the work of the CREA Headquarters taking us through an exponential journey through (some of) the 10 scales of its prefabricated concrete brises.

This public building is covered by a permeable skin to be an open square. It presents itself as an alternative to a characteristic issue of its surroundings: the widespread aversion to the street that leads to the materialization of the boundary between the public and the private through continuous blind planes. In this environment, the prefabricated facade refuses to operate in a single dimension. Despite its conceptual and constructive simplicity, it reveals itself as a multi-scalar object.

From the screws of the metal uprights, to the tropical eco-systemic view. From the chemical reaction of concrete, to the satellite interactions that enable them. The prefabricated concrete brises system is presented through its details, systemic, constructive or assembly logics, as well as its connection to the environment, its user experience, and its relationships with the surroundings.

Ways of Prefab-ing #03 presents the assembly process of Casa Lagos.

As if it were a choreography, a sequence of calculated steps took place for the house to come into being. Thus, over 63 days, eight stages (or acts) of different durations and intensities occurred. While the site preparation and foundation assembly took two weeks, the placement of prefabricated tiles lasted only two days. Once the framing was assembled, a series of light movements and assemblies, more scattered in their timing, concluded the construction sequence of the house.

In addition to the 8 main acts, we find an opening act 0 and a closing act IX. The opening would take place elsewhere: the factory where the prefabricated pieces were born, while the closing would occur after day 63: the moment when life finds its place in the dwelling.

Ways of Prefab-ing #04 presents the MINIMOD project, inviting us to embark on a historical, almost archaeological review through the thousands of traces left by its different stages. It's a meticulous selection of 740 images from the approximately 19,000 files—blueprints, 2D and 3D models, diagrams, presentations, infographics, details, model records, annotations, web pages, renders, prototype images, constructions, and completed works, weighing in at 100,000 MB—of information produced and stored on servers over a decade.

The proposed way to revisit this prefab experience from the archive responds to the project's own nature. MINIMOD is not, and will not be, a unique and finished project, but rather an obsession and an intellectual-design challenge that has remained alive in the thoughts of many people connected to it over time.

This is a project developed within the framework of the cultural initiative INST.

Authors: Luciano Andrades, Matías Carballal, Andrés Gobba, Mauricio López, Silvio Machado, Diego Morera y Sebastián Lambert.

Colaborative team: Alejandro Cuadro, Agustín Dieste, Pablo Courreges, Emilia Dehl, Lucas Marques.