Commercial frame construction, consisting of tubular steel profiles, 'red iron' H-beam and I-beam, prefabricated steel truss, concrete and steel plate decking, and 'hanging wall' cladding systems have been effectively used in large apartment, condominium, and Modernist home construction for a century. Far stronger and more adaptable than typical residential construction and capable of handling large multistorey structures, it's also accepted as conventional among financial sources and would be a good choice for the Seed settlement that is founded with the intention to employ a large portion of for-profit commercial activity and lease residence use and must rely heavily on commercial financing. Favoring a Contemporary or Modernist style of design, this form of construction can be employed with a certain degree of modularity but most structures are not truly intended to be demountable -commonly employing joints that are welded even though they are initially bolted together, poured-in-place concrete floor decks, and light steel supported drywall interior finishing. However, some 'ramen' style post & beam structures can remain fully demountable with an appropriate approach to finishing and these would, of course, be preferable for this application. In fact, in recent years such commercial building systems have actually been developed using engineered lumber with precision steel joint plates.
Given its limitations, this form of construction would tend to favor larger initial settlements and fewer larger stages of expansion, with this form of construction serving well into the intermediate stages of colony development. A single primary community structure -most likely in a radial form- would dominate the architecture of the settlement from the start, relying on a design that provides generic loft space that can be freely repurposed without restructuring of the building itself. It may be very much akin to a cruise liner in aesthetic and could employ an ovoid or mock-ship form or be designed as a pier-like extension from the shore -an approach common to barge-based condominium buildings already in use. The use of Utilihouse type structures as an in-fill finishing system may be a good solution to retrofit adaptation of a very simple generic primary structure. A level-based division of space use as common to intermediate colony development may also be employed, with industrial and utility facilities on the bottom, commercial above that, and residential at the top, the central garden deck raised to the commercial or residential level while its hollow interior is used for utilities and storage. For example, a base level near the water would feature large perimeter bays used for industrial activities and to host marina facilities -perhaps even some enclosed berths for boats. Above that would be a 'gallery' level where the perimeter is setup as an 'interior avenue' while its core-ward side would host shops and commercial offices. Above that is the residential level where the perimeter is used for a ringed structure of residential lofts with small perimeter private terraces surrounding an open deck for a common garden. This organization would well isolate these functional roles from each other in a compact structure and could be simply expanded by concentric growth until it assumes the more Tectonic form of the larger colony.
This approach to Seed construction would be well suited to very close proximity to urban areas where the use of such floating structures is not an unusual tactic for urban waterfront restoration. It would also be suitable to cooler climates and would be readily able to employ membrane based atrium domes over its common garden space for a year-round tropical environment. However, it would tend to have a much larger initial development cost -possibly in the tens of millions of dollars. And so it really must be very profitable as real estate from the start.
- Utilihab Complex
- Resort Prefab Complex
- Container Mod Complex
- Commercial Concrete Complex
- Organic/Ferro-cement Complex