Pursuing Prefabrication: An Exploration of Building at McMurdo Station
Porter, Maxwell Terrence
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While experimentation during the early 20th century pushed prefabrication by challenging off-site and on-site practices, it still struggles to establishes itself beyond novelty in contemporary building. The qualities of prefabricated building assemblies are governed by the relationships between factory, site, transportation and loading gauge. These qualities are responsible for both the benefits and limitations of this building method. However, by examining strategies and emerging trends within prefabrication we can see how negotiating and leveraging these factors can enable us to provide both a variety of programmatic needs while accommodating the complexities of modern building. Due to its extreme climate and remoteness, McMurdo Station in Antarctica is a promising location for the study of prefabrication. Building there is complicated by an annual cycle of operations which overlays the most favourable construction season onto the most intense period of research. By erecting a factory at the station, itself prefabricated, the building capabilities of McMurdo Station would be greatly enlarged.