Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Summer 8-14-2010

Document Type



Project Abstract : The current home personal computer allows for the exchange of parts so the user can easily upgrade or repair components as the users needs change. Hot Swapping, is the process of exchanging, upgrade/downgrade components with in a computer while the system is fully operational. The idea of maintaining a complex computer system, while it is fully operational and certain components can be exchanged as needed, has direct applications to the construction of a modern home. Current stick-frame housing techniques for home construction do not easily allow for major changes, or updates to the system, without portions of the system rendered disabled or unusable.

Social : The current housing conditions in the United States shows homes today are oversized for the amount of occupants residing within. These conditions coincide with the life cycle of the occupants. When a family needs more square footage, many choose to move to a large home. This migration to a larger space becomes detrimental when the number of occupants in the home decreases. The remaining members of the family often stay in the residence due to comfort, yet the amount of valuable resources consumed to keep the home livable could be lessened if the occupants could remove the portions of the home.

Technology : The utilization of the Grasshopper plug-in for Rhino allows dynamic control of various constraints and components to be used with a Hot Swap system. By inputting the proper information into the model, selected inputs can be manipulated which produce multiple formal configurations. These configurations, with set constraints, can be rapidly updated to visualize future alterations. With this modeling system in place it is easy for the Hot Swap system to be visualized as it corresponds to the multiple ways it could be upgraded, downgraded, or modified to coincide with the life cycle growth of the occupants.

Assembly : By developing a component system for construction, the idea of the Hot Swapping can be implemented into the construction of a prefab home. The assembly of the Hot Swap system would resemble current SIP panel and modular home construction methods. These methods serve as a precedent for the thesis. The dissimilarity is in the connections, or how the panel connects to other components. The connections are what fulfill the Hot Swap condition. The ability to upgrade / downgrade / replace / repair panels is the driving force for how the system can be modified. Without these connections the panels would be unable to be removed for future expansion or modification. Through the initial design process of the panel, certain characteristics can be implanted so these changes can be achieved in the future.

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