PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

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Collaborative Research: An Integrated Interior Infill System for Mass Customized Housing

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

* Kent Larson, Principal Investigator

University of Central Florida

* Michael A. Mullens, Principal Investigator
* Robert Hoekstra, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: January 1, 2003
Expires: December 31, 2004


In the future, homes will contain the most complex activities of any building type. With the aging of the baby boomers, homes must become centers for proactive healthcare, distributed energy production, work, commerce, learning, etc. Homes must become agile environments that accommodate rapidly changing needs, activities, and technologies. They must respond to demands of sophisticated, affluent baby boomer generation who want choice and tailored solutions that closely reflect their values and needs.

But places of living are poorly prepared for this future. Most new apartments are generic, low-grade, low-tech, inflexible, disruptive to upgrade, high maintenance, and ill-designed. Architects and engineers play no significant role in the creation of places of living, except at the very high end of the market. Most housing research is focused on cost reduction - not on preparing places of living to meet new requirements in the future.

The objective of this research project is to conceptualize and assess the viability of a new approach that that may result in high-value, customized, reconfigurable, adaptable, multifamily housing. The three coordinated thrusts are as follows.

In summary, this research will give the homebuilding supply chain, suppliers, factory producers, and builders a vision of the future - and an approach to the design tools and lean production systems that can make that vision a reality. The research will attempt to leap beyond incremental improvements in the conventional process, to an agile and adaptable system of mass-customization using technologies processes that could be put into effect in the near term.

The research will also have important academic impacts. It will provide two Masters thesis topics and multi-disciplinary research experiences for two undergraduate research assistants. The class project in EIN 3314 Work Measurement and Design, involving lean manufacturing in local industry, will provide valuable, team-based, real world learning experiences for about 30 undergraduate engineering students.

To view additional details on this NSF award, click on the links below.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Project
University of Central Florida Project

Content updated on 9/21/2005

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