From 3D digital design to custom-made home

A London-based specialist architecture firm claims to be the first company in the world to digitally fabricate a custom-made home on site. The company has developed what it calls the D-Process whereby it delivers a compact mobile production facility to the construction site, equipped with all the materials and machinery required to transform a 3D digital design into a physical building.

The firm first designs the house using a 3D computer model which contains every aspect from its orientation, material quantities, even down to the position of individual plug sockets. The patented D-Process then transforms the 3D digital designs into the home’s exact physical building components, using a computer-controlled cutter. These components are usually made from engineered spruce ply and are light and easy enough to be assembled together on site.

Since the components are produced on demand, costs are kept to a minimum and lead times are eliminated. This unique  construction method provides on-site quality control, cost effectiveness, speed, a low carbon footprint and flexibility. In addition, each project possesses an individual design and layout that reflects the needs of its future occupants. Each home incorporates a thermal envelope, where the home’s ‘chassis’ (more like a car than a traditional wooden frame) is airtight and stacked with insulation.  This ensures that the home conserves energy and minimises heat loss. In addition, each home can be designed to feature a solar thermal system and photovoltaic panels.

Home owners Celia and Diana of Hertfordshire (south-east England) were the first to successfully have their house built using the on-site D-Process. Their modern two-storey home features natural unfinished materials to blend in with its rural context and large south-facing windows which are triple glazed to maximise heat retention in cold weather.

Call for planned  urbanisation

The recently concluded GIREM Leadership Summit has called for ‘planned urbanisation’ in the light of massive migration from rural areas to urban areas as the services sector would generate large-scale employment.

GIREM has pegged the revenues from IT sector alone at around 225 billion USD by 2020 which translates into enormous economic development in terms of office space; housing; transportation etc.

The refrain at the summit was that the major cities had enormous capacities and all they needed was ‘proper planning’ and a coordinated effort on the part of the government and the private sector.

Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna who released a GIREM - Cushman & Wakefield report on ‘Top 10 Emerging Business Destinations’ said, “Planned urbanisation is the call of the day, keeping in mind the massive migration that is going to take place from rural areas to towns and cities. The cities can handle the migration and there was urgent need to look at a model that had a good transportation network.”

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