An international ideas competition for the next generation of relocatable classroom in Australia, with Mike Barker, Filip Milovanovic, Emily Poulin, and Greg Demaiter.

While attracted to the possibilities of prefabrication, we were concerned by the reduction of architecture to a consumer commodity, along with the potential for sameness and inflexibility over time of a fully prefabricated product, particularly as a place of learning.

Betty Crocker quickly understood that it was good business to make the mix not quite complete, and the IKEA effect suggests that the requirement for a little bit of labour enhances authorship of the results – the Allen wrench becomes the egg in the instant cake mix. While the act of building has always offered this same sense of connectedness to architecture, we see the process of design as having that potential in an emerging world of customized mass production. Our approach combines the determinist rationale of ecological functionalism with the populist desire for more active engagement in the making, growth, and transformation of places over time.

A 3D grid orders the composition, reflects the limitations of shipping containers for flat pack delivery, accommodates thickness and fabrication variations, and maintains the potential for diversity, substitution, and variation relative to site.