Learning through prefabrication

NEWTON, Clare (2009). Learning through prefabrication. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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The use of prefabrication in design exemplar houses has escalated in Australia in the past decade. The same level of design quality has not been applied to the design of prefabricated school buildings. As CADCAM technology becomes more prevalent within the construction industry and greener, smarter materials are developed, new opportunities arise in the design of learning spaces. What can be learnt from bespoke prefabrication techniques being developed in other industries and overseas in order to advance the design and delivery of learning spaces within Australia?

This research investigates whether industrial design methodologies might be strategically adopted into architectural design in order to incorporate mass production techniques. Learning environments need to be designed to be environmentally efficient, place specific and better suited to user needs. By including both macro and micro oriented scenarios, the research aims to clarify the challenges for using prefabrication in the design of learning environments.

While this ambitious research is in its infancy, the complex framework and support from industry is relevant for other researchers who are seeking to have an impact on design practice using an action research methodology. The research is timely. Following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, Australian state and federal governments have committed to reinvigorate our aging school stock. This research led by an interdisciplinary team is being developed in partnership with Departments of Education in three Australian states. The aim is to align designers with experts in prefabricated construction and delivery.

The research proposal is positioned within current knowledge as demonstrated through a literature review. Its focus is in response to needs expressed by providers of school buildings in three Australian states. The key innovation is to undertake research concurrently as micro and macro scale in order to capture the potential for industry wide change.

Learning spaces, school design, bespoke prefabrication, prefabrication in architecture, design research, CADCAM.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:48
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/497

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