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Home-making: Architects, users and the 'prefab'

Callsen, B; (2006) Home-making: Architects, users and the 'prefab'. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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It seems a fact that modern architecture still has not reached people at home, within their own four walls. I was therefore seeking for an instrument which bears the potential of bringing architects and users into closer contact, and found it with the prefabricated house. Making use of prefabrication for domestic architecture involves a third partner, the building industry. Consequentially, I have explored ways of forming fruitful collaborations between architects, users and the building industry, for a "trialectic"1 design of a home. My report is structured into two parts: in PART I, I investigate the peculiar reputation of the pre fabricated house, being historically split into a modernist, "architectural" and a commercial, "non- architectural" development. The first represents the architectural profession, the latter the building industry, which succeeded where modernism failed—in reaching the wider public. This leads to two different points of view looking at the 'prefab': the architect's and the housing industry's view, representing the mass of homebuilders. For understanding these, I shed light onto the characteristics of architectural practice, the particular meaning of 'home' and the demands and needs of the user, resulting in contrary under standings of the 'design' of a home. Concerning the last point, the field of participation in architecture demonstrates how architect and user can be united into a—very particular—building project. Complementing the first part—the theory, PART II illustrates the thoughts and ideas with the help of built examples—the practice. I therefore present a collection of recent projects in prefabricated housing, as a 'catalogue' of the recent state of affairs. The precondition for selecting a model was that each had to include elements of modern architecture, participation and prefabrication—enabling a trialectic design. Since there are very different attempts to use prefabrication, I divided the case studies into five categories and set up an overall tabular list for evaluation. This enables the reader a quick overview and an easy comparison of all models and evokes questions regarding social, political, economical, architectural and urban issues. Form and contents of my report express that there are various elements with potential for an application for a contemporary home. If I regarded the built environment as a 'catalogue', it would be possible to extract valuable elements for a particular home, setting the elements together in the required way. This does not mean to take a window here and a roof there, but adopting and transforming existing ideas how to tackle current questions related to a quality modern home, which is equally created by architect and user.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Home-making: Architects, users and the 'prefab'
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569187
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