Thursday, 22 July 2010

Day 203, on which John talks about modularity [22.7.10]

Dag to hundred og tre. Woah, what a day. It feels like a lifetime since I woke up, and yet it's been less than it normally is. Due to it being the last day of school yesterday, my body decided to catch up on a whole year's worth of sleep and I managed to sleep through the rest of my family's morning routines and woke up at 1 o'clock in the afternoon!

But anyways, onto a proper topic. I was just watching a programme about the building of the biggest building in Spain: the Torre Espacio (which sounds a lot like it could be the name of a Seat car). It has 57 floors and was completed in 2007, in the centre of Madrid. Apparently it's more than twice the height of Madrid's next tallest building, so it towers over the skyline. And here's the thing: it was built floor-by-floor, with one floor being completed each week. Each floor is the same apart from the outer shape of it (which creates the bendy shape you see below), and it's all made of concrete!

But is this sort of modularity a good thing? Does it pay off? Well, I think that I can conclude that it does pay off if you're in a hurry. I recently visited Le Havre, in France, which was bombed in the War. As a result, the residents flattened all the rubble and started again. Several architects were commissioned to design the new town, and they used a modular system on which to work. They divided the town up into a grid of 6.24m segments. One building may be three modules wide: 3x6.24m. A road may be five modules wide: 5x6.24m. And so on. This was extremely useful as it allowed the architects to work out the land use really quickly and really efficiency. There wasn't any bother about who owned what land, or what land was farmland, because it had all been bombed. But the architects didn't want bother; they simply wanted to rebuilt the city as soon as possible. So yes, a modular system can be efficient and very useful... but what ever happened to free thinking?



Zack said...

Hey John nice article.

Btw you should really check your flickr account. =P

John said...

Oh yeah Zack don't worry, I've seen your FM - I've just been REALLY busy recently, i'll be able to reply and get things started on Sunday.