Thursday, July 8, 2010

Now This Is Different

Check this out! …...a fantastic, affordable, modular system being used for on-campus accommodation at the Australian National University, in Canberra. I had read about this system before and hubby was particularly interested in the import side, as his business involves the importation of building products from Asia and  Shameless plug.

We scrabbled around on site at the Uni last weekend, taking photos, marvelling at the setup. C'mon kids, this is fun! "But won't we get arrested Mum?"

Each module you see in the photos is essentially like a prefabricated shipping container, the external and internal fittings….bookshelves, desks, (even furniture if required) are put together in the factory and then assembled, like fitting together lego bricks, on site anywhere in the world. The more that is included at the factory level, the cheaper it is to assemble at the destination of the final product. Construction time is under half the time of traditional construction. 70% of the products that are used in these accommodation modules are made or owned by Australian companies.
 Image Courtesy QuickSmart Homes
'Architectural'??? Disclaimer: this is my personal interpretation of the process and not a professional description. I do not claim to have any superior knowledge on this topic, I am just expressing a ‘lay’ description of what I know to be the process. No architects were harmed in the composition of this post... not yet anyway....brace yourself.

See the video that explains it all here:
Click on 'Take The Tour'.
What makes this story even more interesting is that Tom Lane, who developed this system and runs the show, is the grandson of the gentleman who founded the Oroton fashion group! He stepped down as Executive Director of the Oroton group and went off to follow his lifelong passion of building houses and stuff. Go Tom!... you clever, clever man!


  1. What a cool and interesting concept! And I love that he followed his dream and is now doing what he enjoys! Ok, is it just the worrisome mom in me that looked at them and wondered if there was only one way in and out? What happens if there is a fire?! See, I need a vacation so that I don't focus on these things, but humor me and tell me there is an alternate way to get out since I don't see any windows or back doors!

    Kat :)

  2. Very impressive, I saw the modular units featured on a recent television show and was pleasantly surprised. The only thing the show did not reveal was how to get to the top level. Is there stairs or a lift and a joining balcony added to each level? Love the disclaimer!

  3. They do say that the simple ideas are always the best. I know a few artists the use the shipping containers as art studios, but they're probably not set up as well as the ones you show. Great idea!

  4. The disclaimers are cracking me up.
    Is'nt it fun living in a politically correct world!
    What a brilliant idea, hopefully it's an affordable option for more students to live on campus.

  5. I used to drive past these going up every morning on my way to work (have since moved) and think they're wonderful. My bloke reckons they're much better than the uni accommodation he had there when going to the ANU School of Art! Mind you, that was a while ago. And yes, come to Canberra...we need more of your style here!

  6. Very interesting idea! But I have the same questions as the other readers above: how to access the unit? Stairs? Elevators? I wonder if they get too hot during the summer? Imagine living in a metal box.
    But the good side is, they are probably fire proof, so in case of fire, it wouldn't spread from one unit to another.
    Do you have a lot of them around?
    I have seen them around here as units for temporary offices at construction site, but they only use one or two.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. They don't look very pretty but I think they are amazing! I would buy one if I had a block of land as a holiday house or something!

  8. Yes! I read about this story in an inflight mag. Very interesting. I just wonder how long they will last. 10 years? Maybe.

    I love the story of him doing something he really wanted to do and not just taking the 'easy road' Good on him!

  9. Yes! I read about this story in an inflight mag. Very interesting. I just wonder how long they will last. 10 years? Maybe.

    I love the story of him doing something he really wanted to do and not just taking the 'easy road' Good on him!

  10. Wow - very sustainable I think!

  11. Hold that a kitchenette I see in the middle distance of the photo?? I'm thinking back to my daughter's recent Uni days when her Halls of Residence accom. was *ridiculously* small (I'm guessing 6 x 12 ft max), with a shared kitchen. (I should add that this was at a well respected Art and Design Institute - so you'd think that the Halls would reflect innovative design). This seems to offer so much more and yet must be very cost effective to put together.

    However, (putting on my hard hat here), I think they're rather ugly. They're soulless from the outside and remind me of 1960s tower blocks, thrown up for cheapness in post war Britain.

    Disclaimer: I am not an architect and my views may differ from those who are. I do not claim to be the fount of all knowledge and any views expressed herein should therefore be taken as the honest opinion of A Punter.

  12. What a fab idea...loved the bit about the boys fearing they may end up in the slammer!

  13. Sorry 'Prop', whoever you are, I am not going to publish your comment as it is bordering on slander and I cannot afford to be responsible for your comment by publishing it. You can slander me all you like for not having an ‘architectural degree’ before I comment guys... that's fine, I'm tough.. (what is it with your discipline? you're all so tightly wired) but I do not wish to be involved in a slander/slanging match between architects. Sort it out amongst yourselves and not on my bloggy. All I said was, "isn't this a neat idea". Hence the tongue in cheek disclaimer. I don't know the company or their staff from a bar of soap. I just drove past the building site and thought, "interesting". Back to pretty pictures girls I think, I can't discuss anything architectural without the fraternity raging! A-M xx

  14. architects can be very tetchy A-M, i can attest to that! But landscape architects are the salt of the earth nad brilliant!!!! :) hehehe

    sorry - probably will fire off some architect ranting about landscape architects being nothing more than people that colour in!

    love you new blog lay out, looks great! julesx


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx