We Live in the Future: NextGen Modular?

A mock up of the “Pod Vending Machine” skyscraper. Credit: Dezeen.

A Malaysian designer has made quite a splashing when it comes to a hybrid of modular units and 3D printing.

According to Dezeen, Haseef Rafiei was awarded an honorable mention at this year’s eVolo Skyscraper competition. The competition recognizes innovative ideas for futuristic high-rise living.

Rafiei’s concept, a skyscraper that prints 3D modular homes and dispenses them like a vending machine, was inspired by the popularity of vending machines in Japan.

The skyscraper would offer prospective homeowners the ability to customize and manufacture a modular home, which then gets added into a high-rise framework. Customers would have the ability to choose from a selection of ready-to-use housing pods to design their home, based on their needs.

Then, the home would be created on-site by a pod printer, and installed above the building. Once completed, the pods are plugged into spaces in the structure below by crane arms attached to the skyscraper.

The Pod Vending Machine offers a solution to increasing need for housing in cities by growing in response to demand. As the mega-structure is filled with homes, the skyscraper would grow taller to accommodate more, adding to itself using materials delivered by hydraulics on the sides of the building,” said Rafiei.

The futuristic building concept has been designed to adapt to the needs of its inhabitants over time, rather than remaining a static structure. Modules stored within the building could be moved, regrouped, modified and recycled, preventing waste and ensuring that space is used efficiently.”

Credit: Dezeen.

Rafiei also says that the concept could be used for residential, business and commercial spaces.

The structure could be used for both residential and business use, housing start-ups and commercial spaces as well as homes.

I believe that robotic concepts like my skyscraper will become necessary to address the growing demands of the urban housing market, while easing pressure on labor, cost and time associated with construction through automation,” said Rafiei.

The Daily Business News has covered the 3D printing movement from around the world, including the case of Apis Cor, which claims to have printed a 400 square foot home just outside of Moscow, Russia in 24 hours.

While wild claims have come and gone with media hype, possible disruptions to the manufactured housing industry are no joke.

An association veteran told MHProNews that failing to adapt could result over time in manufactured housing’s associations becoming “the associations of mobile home remodelers.” It was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying there would be widespread industry business failures, and that only remodeling work would be left if the correct steps aren’t taken by members of the industry.

We are several years into our industry’s recovery. That’s good news.  But 3D, prefab, containers and tiny houses are all reminders that manufactured housing producers and others can’t rest on their laurels,” said L. A. “Tony”Kovach, publisher of MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

Manufactured housing is an amazing option, that’s highly sustainable, so long as we grow more rapidly towards our potential.  There is a high cost – and risk – to low volume sales, which is why we’ve repeatedly said that aiming for hundreds of thousands of new home sales a year in a sustainable way is a must.” 

Some companies are taking steps to grow in a responsible way.  That’s good news. But absent such growth,” Kovach cautions, our source is sadly but likely correct – in the next 5 to 10 years perhaps, technologies are emerging that could disrupt the manufactured housing industry.  Communities, production, lending, retailing – it could all change unless more of the industry’s members and leaders take the proper steps, now.”

The Daily Business News has covered the rise of 3D printed homes extensively, including other Chinese, Russian and Dutch 3D home projects, and asking the tough question: “Is America losing the 3D Technology race in housing?

In several off-the-record comments by professionals with community, production, association, retailing and other industry interests, say that the industry needs to pay attention.

For even more on 3D printed homes, including the story of The BigDelta, the world’s largest 3D printer and its year-long mission to print a mud house, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)


RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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