All posts in Technology + Innovation

Whoever said you can’t be innovative and efficient has never been to Bryan Cranston’s beach house. The star of Breaking Bad has recently decided to go green with the construction of his beach house. When it comes to going green in the construction industry, modular construction is the only way to go.

In the 1950s, modular construction garnered the majority of its business from mobile homes or temporary housing and storage, glitz and glamour was far from the top of an architect’s mind. As time progressed so has the industry’s willingness to develop and do more with less. It comes down to dollars and sense, and being able to deliver a project in a shorter time-frame at a lower price without sacrificing quality is a no-brainer. Bryan Cranston wanted “both form and function” when designing his house, which is illustrated in the guest bedroom, which features a couch that can easily transform into a bed in seconds.

 

The house itself was constructed with recycled materials and includes solar panels on the roof, which has virtually cut the electricity bill in half each month. Most people think about going green as an alternative approach to building the house of their dream, but through careful planning and construction, innovation and efficiency can go hand-in-hand.

 

Bryan Cranston is one of the first celebrities to take advantage of modular construction, but with Hollywood’s desire to go green, he most certainly won’t be the last.

 

See more pictures of his house at: http://athomeinhollywood.com/2015/03/bryan-cranston-beach-house/Bryan-Cranstons-Eco-Friendly-Beach-House-in-California-1

 

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It is not a new notion that modular design offers many benefits to traditional on-site construction. Building in a climate controlled, indoor factor has shown to lower construction costs, use materials more efficiently and generate an earlier stream of income in certain scenarios.

A new form of modular construction that has shown an increase in popularity is the construction of bathroom pods. Bathroom pods follow a factory-like philosophy, which allows repeatable components to be manufactured at a faster pace.

The current markets that bathroom pods are serving include: hospitality, student housing, healthcare and multifamily homes. These markets have acknowledged that they will be duplicating the same design over again and have taken advantage of a way to make factory operations 250% more efficient. Bathroom pods also allow manufacturers the ability to dip their toe in modular construction by allowing one facet of their construction if the rest of their building will be made in a traditional on-site approach.

Bathroom pods while manufactured in the factory are then shipped and can be installed by contractors. Typically the logistics for shipping and installation is predetermined and the pods can be delivered in as little as 22 days.

 

Read More about the Innovation Bathroom Pods are Offering: http://www.modular.org/images/Bathroom%20Pods%20Whitepaper%20Dec16.pdf

10 trends have stood out over the past year and should continue to show an increase in 2017:

1. Collaborative projects have been an increasing trend in the industry and show no signs of slowing down in the new year.

2. The labor shortage will continue to plague all facets of the industry.

3. Uncertainties will persist under the new administration.

4. Modular construction is further cementing its place in the industry.

5. A spending boost in infrastructure is expected.

6. The Internet of Things will continue to revolutionize the job site.

7. Construction costs as a whole will continue to rise.

8. Virtual and Augmented Reality will generate more buzz in the industry as it has a great potential to increase collaboration.

9. The sustainable construction movement aims to change its message.

10. Construction firms will need to answer questions over fraud and safety scrutiny.

To Read More About the Trends in Depth:http://www.constructiondive.com/news/construction-industry-trends-2017/433151/

KITCHEN CARTRIDGE

The FutureHAUS prototype being researched and designed by Virginia Tech Center for Design Research (long been a driver for innovation in industrial and modular fabrication) has its first completed deliverable:  a prefab, precision-cut kitchen “cartridge” heavily embedded with the latest technology.  This research project is supported by Mark Line Modular with modular consulting by our own John Morrison as well as the Modular Building Institute.  The initial component of cartridge will be shown early next year at the nation’s major Kitchen and Bath expo.  Read the full coverage and view more images over at Architizer.

timber-boards-villach

As any architect or visual designer knows, applying appropriate, seamless and high-quality textures is always a challenge when rendering and modeling both concepts and finished designs.  Architextures is an interesting new site offering high quality, seamless and quality resources is an accessible manner.  They are generously offered up under a Creative Commons license for both personal and commercial use.  Check out the collection over at Architextures!

moleskine

With the holidays fast approaching, here is an affordable and high-tech stocking stuffer sure to be beloved by designers, architects, illustrators, etc.  This new tablet from Moleskine digitizes and exports your doodles into Adobe Creative Suite as vector files.  Read the full coverage over at Gizmodo.

Brian Ho

Google Glass and augmented reality are interesting concepts that we are waiting for with great anticipation.  We submitted a (non-winning) entry to Google’s prototype contest that asked “what would you do with Glass”.  This brainstorming exercise really got us interested in what commercial augmented reality products like Glass could do when coupled with modular fabrication and parametric design software like BIM.  3D models of a building could be overlaid in the user’s field of vision allowing them to see what they are to build in real-time.  Such “hands free” blueprint technology could really improve the already great efficiency on the modular shop floor.  What other ideas do you have for how this technology could be utilized in the building sector?

IPad_2_Smart_Cover_at_unveiling_crop

I was visiting a jobsite the other day and noticed the sudden prevalence of tablets and smartphones, even in the dirty and often chaotic environment of a construction site.  At Mark Line, we can easily integrate technology in our factory as it is indoors and out of the elements.  This led our IT department to wonder what kind of apps might exist to ease construction workflow and assist buildings professionals.  The Daily Reporter delivered a recent list of the 14 best construction apps.  See what you think!

Adafruit_Makerbot_1_610x469

The Mark Line family of companies recently welcomed a new member – a 3D printer.  Our sister company, Look Trailers, is currently using it to 3D print full-size models of parts and components.  Mark Line is excited to use the printer to create scale models of volumetric units to truly help clients and staff alike to visualize a completed unit as it will be built.  As a company that prides itself on innovation, we feel 3D printing technology, along with modular construction, will soon disrupt the construction industry as a whole.  Already, in Shanghai a company is 3D printing full scale homes out of a concrete polymer, and in Amsterdam a group of architects is endeavoring to 3D print a canal house.  Beyond even 3D printing, scientists at MIT recently announced they had successfully completed a prototype of 4D printing, meaning self-folding strands of 3D printed material.  This makes us consider the day when a wall can be 4D printed and automatically form raceways for electrical and mechanical systems automatically.  What do you think?