New ways of modelling and advances in manufacturing techniques are bringing designers much closer to the fabrication and assembly of buildings. For the Here East Gantry, designed and delivered by Hawkins\Brown & Architecture 00 with Wikihouse, this change has been particularly evident. A series of 23 artist studios, scheduled for completion March 2018, are currently being built using the Wikihouse design and construction toolkit.


For the Here East Gantry a series of 23 artist studios, scheduled for completion March 2018, are currently being built using the Wikihouse design and construction toolkit.

This toolkit enables the delivery of modular plywood buildings precision manufactured using CNC milling machines. To do this we collaborated with Architecture 00 & Wikihouse to develop a flexible parametric design tool, in which a user could easily alter parameters for a building (roof type, footprint, height, door & window locations & sizes, etc.) and watch the 3D model regenerate itself live. The construction detail of the Wikihouse system was embedded into this software at concept design stage of the project which later formed the production information. Once QA checked we were able to send data, in the form of cutting files, directly to the CNC machine for fabrication. Every joint and detail was embedded into this design model, effectively the entire construction system, and so new cutting files for the wiki structure could be automatically regenerated, at the push of a button, with each design change.

This marks a huge opportunity for architects. Machines will happily motor through repetitive tasks, once set up with the instructions of how to complete them. As they become more sophisticated, it is only a matter of time before the palette of materials, forms and systems grow to become as diverse as designers and clients desire. Closing the gap between the designer and the builder provides architects with a reason and an opportunity to really understand the fundamental details of the systems that they are designing. A unique feature of the Gantry at Here East was that in this design & build project, it wasn’t the contractor’s specialist supply chain advising on the construction system, it was the architect.


Jack Stewart
Project Architect & Digital Studio Lead, Hawkins\Brown

Jack Stewart is an ARB accredited Architect and leads the Digital Studio at Hawkins\Brown. Helping to lead the design and delivery of the Here East project, a 1.2 million square foot mixed use development, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Jack embraced the opportunity to use the project as a vehicle for developing his expertise in emerging technology.

Recently he has moved into a full-time role leading the digital studio at Hawkins\Brown. Acting as a shared office resource Jack can offer support, where needed, across all projects. This includes offering focused scripting and coding expertise to help resolve design challenges and to also create tools that deliver more robust and efficient production information.

More broadly this involves looking at digital technology across the practice, exploring how it can innovate how we better practice architecture and more importantly; how we create better places.