On the 31th of May, I presented an article at the 3rd Colloquy “Open Classes” of PhD course in Architecture of ISCTE-IUL, with the title “The legacy of the Matura system and John Habraken for mass customized construction” .
Recent developments in the integration of computational design and production methods have led several authors to speak of the emergency of a mass customized construction paradigm. The social and economical advantages of this paradigm have many traits in common with the ideas that John Habraken has defended since the sixties, which are particularly manifest in building renovation. Furthermore, these type of systems have the potential to approach several of the challenges of contemporary construction, among which the reduction of enviromental impacts over the building life-cycle. The Matura system, developed by Habraken and the Ahrend group, introduced many of the caracteristics that currenly present in mass customized systems. Namely, the development of an integrated and open system of design and fabrication control distribution amongst the several actors in the construction process, by means of a design-to-fabrication computational system and an interface for the building owner to interact. The aim is to understand what led to its development, what ultimately caused its demise and what lessons can be learnt for the development of future systems.