“It’s not only about building objects and spaces; it’s about crafting the systems to build them—systems to help solve the challenges ahead,” states Cutwork.
Antonin Yuji Maeno from Paris-based Cutwork has joined forces with French developer Bouygues Immobilier and DMDmodular to launch an innovative new building model for future sustainable housing, bringing together Japanese simplicity with LEGO-like assembly.
It’s called Polybloc, and the prototype modular was delivered in 2022.
Bouygues Immobilier, one of the largest developers and operators in France, asked Cutwork to continue its research from PolyRoom and explore how modular construction could be key to creating adaptive, flexible housing solutions in different contexts, from urban to rural.
This case study focuses on how the singular unit can be industrially produced and stacked to establish residential units across different contexts.
With the ambition to develop over 15 sites in France, Cutwork’s project is ongoing and multidisciplinary, including architecture, interior design, innovation research, “look & feel” interior brand guidelines, custom furniture, and interior fittings, feasibility studies, and artistic direction for photo, video, exhibition, print materials, etc.
PolyRoom singular module is designed to be produced in bulk and stacked like LEGO bricks to build complete residential blocks (PolyBloc) in significantly less time than conventional construction methods.
Off-site, modular construction makes it faster to build residential blocks and helps address housing demand.
Modular construction can enable rapid, adaptive urbanization across diverse conditions, constraints, and contexts.
According to Cutwork: “In the last 30 years, an estimated 421 million birds have disappeared in Europe.”
“Overall, more than 40% of bird species are considered to be in decline today.”
“This is just one of the many examples of ecological collapse we are facing.”
“Urbanization plays a key role to reverse this trend.”
“PolyBloc is carefully designed to help establish thriving, multi-species ecologies, even in dense urban areas,” continues the architects.
Instead, cites Cutwork: “Buildings should be planted like trees to activate biodiversity in our cities.”
PolyBloc’s design includes heavily planted balconies, façades, and rooftops with automated irrigation systems – fully integrated into the basic prefab unit that the building is built out of.
Amongst highly curated plants and foliage, we integrated a bird home directly into the ‘Living Balcony’ design in PolyRoom. Different size holes and types of entry perches can be integrated to fit select local birds in the end-location where PolyRoom is stacked into PolyBloc, helping establish new kinds of shared habitats.
Specific species of plants are carefully curated and fit to the local ecosystem, helping to establish a niche for select insect species to support birds and biodiversity at each stage of the food chain.
The UN has projected that by 2050, there will be 3 billion more people living in cities than today. If this continues at the current rate of growth for housing, more than 2 billion new homes will be constructed by the end of the 21st century.
This means building a one-million-person city every week.
According to Cutwork: “We combine the industrial-scale volume of housing solutions with an expansion of local ecology and biodiversity.”
Client: Bouygues Immobilier
Manufacturer: DMDmodular Sp. z o.o.