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ArqFlex: industrialised spatial system of flexible timber modules

Abstract

In this project, we intend to develop an industrialised system of flexible spatial modules in industrialised timber. The ArqFlex system will allow the construction of 1 to 4 floors and will be prefabricated, allowing for reduced delivery deadlines and control of the final cost of the building. In addition, the system will target multiple programs, including housing, commercial uses, offices and public facilities ArqFlex will be guided by three principles that, combined, will guarantee its relevance, innovative character and financial success: spatial quality, flexibility and sustainability. The spatial quality of ArqFlex will result from the fact that the system unit will be composed by volumetric modules, and not by building elements. Thus, it will be assured that modules have good dimensions, that the proportions between width, depth and height are interesting and that openings are properly positioned. Flexibility, on the other hand, will be provided by complementary strategies. The first strategy is the possibility to combine spatial modules freely, adapting the final volume to the site, the program and the needs of the client. Moreover, it will be possible to increase the initial construction over time by the addition of spatial modules, which will allow clients to invest in the construction gradually. The second strategy that will guarantee the system's flexibility is the very size of the modules, which will allow the space to accommodate different uses. The third strategy that will guide the design of ArqFlex and that will radically increase its flexibility is the separation of the construction in two levels of control: the support, composed by the spatial modules and everything that is fixed - the structure, the accesses, the installations, the facade and external openings - and the infill - which includes circulation blocks, hydraulic blocks, partition panels and internal doors and that may be freely altered by the user. The third principle that will govern ArqFlex is sustainability. In that sense, the possibility of building 1 to 4 floors stands out, enabling solutions compatible with high density urban situations. In addition, the use of certified timber as the main building material will contribute significantly to carbon sequestration, while avoiding materials whose production is connected to high energy consumption and to the production of polluting waste. The excellent thermodynamic performance of the building is another aspect that will ensure the sustainability of the system. Thus, an intelligent design of the façade of the spatial modules, which is understood as belonging to the support level of the building, will help ensure the environmental comfort of the building and eliminate energy costs. The ArqFlex system will be marketed through an Online Platform governed by principles that will be defined throughout this project. The platform will allow customers to combine spatial modules and infill elements according to their needs and, after ordering, our company will hire, coordinate and supervise the outsourced production of each element, as well as final transportation and assembly. (AU)