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Prefabrication in the Public Realm

Thu, Jan 28, 2021    1pm

Designing New York: Prefabrication in the Public Realm

This discussion is a celebration of the launch of Designing New York: Prefabrication in the Public Realm, which was published earlier this year as a collaboration between Columbia University’s GSAPP and the NYC Public Design Commission is available as a free download on the City of New York’s website.

Presentations by Ada Tolla, LOT-EK and Columbia GSAPP Faculty; Ben Busche, Brut Deluxe; Carlo Ratti, Carlo Ratti Associati; and Ronnie Markussen, Human Habitat. Moderated by Rebecca Macklis, Senior Urban Design Manager, NYC Public Design Commission and Laurie Hawkinson, Professor of Architecture, Columbia GSAPP; Partner, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects; Commissioner, NYC Public Design Commission.

Through a selection of 22 case studies, six of which are located in NYC and two of which respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Designing New York: Prefabrication in the Public Realm examines how prefabrication practices can be applied to small-scale urban infrastructure projects to have a large public-realm impact. It also highlights current best practices for prefabrication and analyzes both technical and logistical nuances of these systems in order to further understand their viability in New York City.

This event gathered a selection of designers from around the world whose work is highlighted in the publication. Designers presented projects and aimed to further unpack the future of prefabrication practices in densely populated and expanding urban metropolises like New York City, with a focus on how to meet growing needs for public infrastructure while also addressing pressures to expedite timelines and reduce costs.

Research for the publication was originally initiated as part of Hawkinson’s seminar “Prefab, Modular, and Flatpack”. This course examined the history of exemplary prefabrication processes and projects to-date, and focused specifically on recent developments that have evolved in the last ten years, building upon the 2008 MoMA exhibition and publication Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, curated by Barry Bergdoll and Peter Christensen. The program is a follow up to the AIA, NY roundtable held at the Center for Architecture on July 23rd, 2019, where a panel of interdisciplinary and cross-sector professionals discussed student findings and further probed issues related to design and procurement, engineering and construction management, and site selection and transport logistics unique to New York City, a recording is available here.

Edited by Laurie Hawkinson, Professor of Architecture at GSAPP; Rebecca Macklis, Senior Urban Design Manager at NYC’s Public Design Commission (PDC); Rahul Gupta, MArch student at GSAPP; and Andrea Tonc, Associate at Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects and produced as part of the PDC’s Designing New York Series with support from Columbia GSAPP and PDC, the book also features contributions by GSAPP students Pooja Annamaneni, Oscar Deleon, Jacob Gulinson, Rahul Gupta, Kuan He, Fiona Ho, Jacob Karasik, Mengxuan Liu, Ruxiao Liu, Ricky Lo, Leonardo Tamargo Niebla, Jihae Park, Felipe Rocha, Jake Rosenwald, Korn Supsakorn, Alek Tomich, and Cynthia Wang.