Modular Construction

Braga, Portugal. 2022 – ongoing

BySteel, a DST group company that is responsible for the conception, production, and installation of steel structures and facades, is promoting a project that aspires to promote a change in the Portuguese construction industry.

The company is leading a consortium of 40 parties that proposes a holistic approach to design, manufacturing, and construction. The consortium is composed of 24 Portuguese companies of the construction industry, leading 16 Portuguese Universities, architects, and a variety of Centres of Knowledge.

The NFF has been approached to lead the research design of this ambitious challenge that will revolutionise the construction industry in the country. Norman Foster´s career is the proof that it is possible to combine sustainability, cutting edge technology, efficiency, modularity, creativity and innovation.

The project aspires to change the country’s mindset, and proposes modular design and prefabrication as a way to bring quality construction in a more efficient and sustainable way, without limiting designers´ freedom and creativity. The aim of creating this modular construction system is to tackle the general lack of housing, student accommodation, and hospital beds that Portugal will face in the near future. The change in mindset will also be implemented in education. Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra Universities are part of the initiative and will teach modular construction across the curriculum.

Cement, wood, building polymers, cork and other construction material industries are involved in the project, with the purpose of generating innovative solutions applied to their fields. Additionally, technological partners will be responsible for incorporating cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Internet of Things in the products developed.

In order to test the proposed design, a building called the´living lab´ will be erected. It will have around 4,000sqm and contain approximately 100 habitable units that will serve four main uses: student residences, living units, hotel and hospital rooms. This building will also host BySteels´s safety and health departments on its ground floor.