Prior to this first real-world instance in Honduras, the idea has been nurtured at ZHA and AADRL (Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory) for over 20 years and more intensely and technologically developed in the last five years at Studio Nahmad-Bhooshan, AADRL.Combining real-time technology like Unreal Engine with next-generation manufacturing technologies opens up a number of different pathways for taking a design from the screen to real-world bricks and mortar. The configurator can be coupled with microfactories for start-up neighborhoods that are low-capital investment, use local supply chains, and are regulation-compatible. 

Or it can be coupled with Tesla-style gigafactories for large-scale, industrially constructed housing developments to take advantage of economies of scale while retaining social and communal characteristics. “It can also be paired with other digital manufacturing technologies—particularly 3D concrete printing and established prefabricated building component catalogs in timber and steel construction,” says Bhooshan.

And it’s not just holiday homes that could benefit from a configuration approach. The concept can be extended to any conceivable type of mass-customizable building, such as office spaces, R&D labs, or start-up incubator spaces.

Real-time property configurators could even be coupled with blockchain technologies, providing a route to decentralized, crowd-sourced real-estate developments and transactions for and by retail investors. That’s a world away from today’s real-estate development that is restricted to large, institutional investors and where fractional ownership is not possible.

For Bhooshan, ZHA’s Honduras Próspera configurator is just the tip of the iceberg. “Our team has already actively extended this design thinking and technology to engage with metaverses, digital twins, NFTs, and start-up towns and cities.” he says.

Source: Unreal Engine Blog