Planes, frames, and volumes are the basic ingredients to all assembly logics. Today, with the proliferation of additive production methods, the possibility of volumetric prefabricated building components has the potential to radically alter the way that we conceive of construction and the permanence of building parts. Volumes can now be created efficiently through the direct translation of digital files into additive matter at increasingly larger scales. Entire building components can be drawn up independently, fabricated as solids, and combined as whole building systems.
The main problem with capsule structures is the inability for the user to change the spatial logic of the capsule due to its inherent all-in-one design meant to meet all human demands. This is impractical in terms of meeting both changes in technology and changes in how people use and perceive space. The capsule must now be thought of as a technology that can be made of separate upgradeable parts.
We cannot assume that a capsule building can always afford or even have the opportunity to have an external means of adding and removing volumes to and from the structural frame. Looking to the advances in parking technologies that are proliferating our densest cities we can see the possibilities that robotic movers may have on moving volumetric components. Internal strategies work best.
By allowing for each personal unit to be made of interchangeable volumetric components, each will be a composite of values and needs. Layouts are less flexible but allow for different volumes. Through the ease of online ordering, each unit will be able to buy and sell adjacent spaces and ‘design’ their own additions and components via simple browsable software. The database will evolve and shift with changes in style, use, technology, and customer desires. The basic presumptions regarding connection methods will remain standard while the volume and use will change. Each unit will become unique.
In order to explore the possibilities of such a system and logic, research of both Richard Rogers’ ‘Zip-Up House’ and Kisho Kurokawa’s ‘Nakagin Capsule Tower’ add up to a proposal that tests the viability of a componentized volumetric assembly structure.