Can This Chicago Apartment Factory Make New Homes Affordable?

The Atlantic’s CityLab Ι July 8, 2019 Skender, an established, family-owned builder in Chicago, is making a serious play in a sector associated with young startups: modular construction. The company is building steel-structured three-flats, a quintessential Chicago housing type that consists of three apartments stacked on top of each other in the footprint of a large house. […]

To Fix Its Aging Infrastructure, the US Could Learn a Thing or Two From Chicago

Autodesk’s Redshift Ι May 16, 2019  In its latest report card, released in 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave US infrastructure a D+. Two years on, this rating still stands—and in the seven times the association has assessed the nation’s infrastructure since the 1980s, scores have steadily declined. By infrastructure type, the best […]

With Haus Gables, Architect Jennifer Bonner Celebrates and Critiques the American Single-Family House

Metropolis Magazine Ι March 2019  There’s an irresistible meta-critique at the heart of architect Jennifer Bonner’s Haus Gables in Atlanta, asking: What if you blurred the lines between real architecture and the media and methods used to simulate it, namely drawings and models? A professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) with a practice of […]

Do Legacy Construction Companies Have the Inside Track on Modular Building?

Redshift Ι January 8, 2019  Fresh-faced, tech-oriented startups get most of the attention in the modular-building world, but despite their “it” factor, they’re still startups. Is there a market share in modular just waiting for companies with the approach and know-how that come with legacy experience? Chicago-based legacy construction company Skender has been researching modular construction […]

Incorporating Drone Imagery into Design Workflows

Architect Magazine Ι August 2018  The use of drones to survey project sites is becoming more common among builders and engineers. For architects, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer a distinct vantage point from which they can study and document sites for research and marketing opportunities. Below, practitioners and operators discuss strategies for incorporating UAVs into design […]

Hurricane-Proof Construction Methods Can Prevent the Destruction of Communities

Redshift Ι Nov. 9, 2017 The four hurricanes that slammed into heavily populated areas from the Caribbean to Texas this summer are inching toward a half-trillion-dollar price tag in damages—to say nothing of the work and wages missed by shutting down entire cities. Buildings are the most visible marker of a place’s resilience after a disaster […]

Machine Learning Eases Construction Project Management—and Prevents Catastrophes

Redshift Ι Oct. 2, 2017  In the fragmented building industry, “every single building is a prototype,” says Dustin Hartsuiker, manager of Technology Solutions for the California-based Swinerton Builders. Devoid of standardization and often assembled from custom-made components, buildings are unforgiving and inefficient experiments in fabrication, given to levels of risk and uncertainty unheard of in the […]

Fire Tests Enable New Timber Typologies

Doggerel Ι August 23, 2017 After a long time lost in the woods, architects and engineers are rediscovering timber. Wood has been a default building material for millennia. Historically, one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep buildings standing upright was to fell large trees and shape them into load-bearing beams and columns. This […]

Augmented Reality in Construction Lets You See Through Walls

Redshift Ι May 5, 2017  Imagine you’re part of a crew constructing a new office building: Midway through the process, you’re on-site, inspecting the installation of HVAC systems. You put on a funny-looking construction helmet and step out of the service elevator. As you look up, there’s a drop ceiling being installed, but you want to […]