How To Build a 1,000-Square-Meter Building in Just a Few Months

After the Gomos#1 prototype and the exhibition at the Venice Biennale, SUMMARY studio unveils a new project using its modular building system.


Render. Image Cortesia de SUMMARY

Render. Image Cortesia de SUMMARY

The project includes several collective housing units and multifunctional service spaces. The location could not be more generic – on the side of a national road in Vale de Cambra, Portugal, where the urban mesh is absolutely scattered and with no clear alignments. The demands of the client were clear and defined from the outset: the construction would have to be fast, economical, and modifiable over time, depending on the different needs that might arise. The content of this order led the studio to use prefabricated elements and leave portions of the project undefined. 


Cortesia de SUMMARY

Cortesia de SUMMARY

In the words of Alejandro Aravena, “SUMMARY’s set of prefabricated elements can balance the logics of prefabricated infrastructure and architecture as a support.” This project is another practical example of this architectural approach, assuming the speed of construction, flexibility, and optimization of resources as central themes.

The defined design strategy is quite simple: 2 different programs are placed on 2 different floors. The ground floor is occupied with multifunctional service spaces, in direct contact with the public road. The upper floor is for the housing units. Independent access is created for each of these programs taking into account the different uses placed at different levels, taking advantage of the natural slope of the ground. 

The ground floor consists of prefabricated structural panels throughout its perimeter. Considering the location of the building (on the side of a national road where everything happens fast!) And the requirements of the order, the multifunction service spaces are designed in an absolutely flexible way: the interior compartmentation is made through removable panels that contain interior gutters to pass water and electricity infrastructures. This allows for future adjustments and modifications of the space: it is possible to add or remove compartments or to make the entire floor function as a large open space. Users will make their own space, according to their needs. 

The upper floor is integrally composed of modules of the Gomos System. Considering that the maximum area to be legally allowed was very limited, the empty space required is used as a separator of the various housing units. Conceived and licensed as a collective housing project, with these separations the project incorporates the main advantages of individualized housing: clearly individualized entrances and a complete acoustic separation between the different units. 


Upper Level Floor Plan

Upper Level Floor Plan

The work of Vale de Cambra has already started and will be completed by the end of 2017.


Cortesia de SUMMARY

Cortesia de SUMMARY

Technical Information

Architect: SUMMARY
Engineering: FTS, Technical Solutions
Prefabrication and Assembly: Farcimar, Solutions in Prefabricated Concrete
Category: Services / Collective Housing
Status: Under Construction
Year: 2017
Size: 970 m2
Predominant Material: Reinforced Concrete
Location: Vale de Cambra, Portugal

*Curator’s Rationale, sobre a instalação SUMMARY (INFRASTRUCTURE-STRUCTURE-ARCHITECTURE) na Bienal de Arquitetura de Veneza 2016 “Reporting from the Front”.

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