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New methods, new materials

30 May 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Scholastic’s Big Red Auditorium
130 Mercer Street
New York

This event is part of a spring 2019 series called The Housing System.


The housing production industry hasn’t changed much in the last century. We’re still building in largely the same ways, yet it’s slow, costs more than ever, and isn’t environmentally sustainable. We might be entering a new era as the construction industry is one of the latest to be “disrupted” by new technologies and Silicon Valley thinking, including proprietary software, an influx of private capital, and an emphasis on assembly line precision. Meanwhile, architects and others are exploring advances in material production and novel methods of working, leading to a potentially radical shift in the design and manufacture of housing.


Two areas at the center of attention are modular construction—with promises not only of lower costs but faster building and safer working conditions—and mass timber, which offers strong structural capacity well-suited to prefabrication, can be sustainably produced, and is carbon neutral or even carbon positive. There’s a range of other opportunities for employing new tools, approaches, and techniques to create housing that is more cost-effective, functional, sustainable, and lasting. What are the promises and pitfalls of technological innovations and material advances in housing production?