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The Fine Grained Large Project

By : N.J.Habraken

Contemporary professionalism considers as revolutionary the idea that people take care of their own shelter. But that very condition has produced complex urban and rural environments for millennia and is still operative in large parts of the world. Modern equipment and organizational know-how make the large project more and more the norm. Be it a suburban scheme for a large number of free standing houses or a down town high rise tower or anything in between, the size of building enterprises tends to grow steadily. In early Modernist times, when the large project first came about - most notoriously in mass housing but also in institutional and commercial building - it was taken for self evident that doing something big was to standardize and repeat something small. It was believed this was what industrialization was all about. We now know that industrial systems in building allow for variable combination of their components, and that the monotonous repetition of the same units, or the same bays, or the same floor plans, has little to do with industrial production but everything with centralized decision making in design.

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