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“Prefabrication in the Public Realm” digital release

September 14, 2020

Designing New York: Prefabrication in the Public Realm, a publication edited by Laurie Hawkinson, Professor of Architecture at GSAPP; Rahul Gupta, MArch student at GSAPP; Rebecca Macklis, Senior Urban Design Manager at NYC’s Public Design Commission (PDC); and Andrea Tonc, Associate at Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, is now available as a free download on the City of New York’s website. 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.

Through a selection of 22 case studies, six of which are located in NYC and two of which respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the book 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.

Research for the publication was 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 seminar concluded with a roundtable discussion at the Center for Architecture in 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.