A lot of building kits and other architectural designs advertise a quick and easy assembly process, ranging anywhere between a few hours for plug-and-play prefab structures to a few days for slightly more complex projects. Still, a company has never promised that their buildings could pop up in just eight minutes and at the push of a single button, no labor required. Could this possibly be for real? Skepticism at such an outlandish claim is warranted, but Ten Fold Engineering would like a few minutes of your time to show you what they can do.
The UK-based company has created a series of different-sized, highly portable structures that load onto the back of a tractor-trailer like standard cargo. What looks like a plain white box hides a surprisingly sophisticated engineering marvel. The truck transports this box to its destination, backs up to the building site, and activates the quick-deploy mechanism. Suddenly, the sides of the box pop out, self-adjusting legs come down, roof surfaces slide out or fold up, and stairs pivot down to the ground to allow access. With its cargo now fully supported by the earth, the truck simply drives away. The units can also be delivered using a helicopter or ship.
That means no builders, cranes, foundations, or any other mainstays of construction are required. Looks like the automated workplace revolution is coming sooner than we thought. Deployment takes just a few minutes and works the same way in reverse, folding itself back in to be moved again as needed. The unit expands to three times its folded size, measuring about 688 square feet with 215 square feet of storage space for your furniture and belongings. It’s fully equipped, pre-powered, and can be customized to include any combination of folding partitions, doors, windows, service pods, and floor plans.
If you want to go off-grid, you can add optional bolt-on modular pods for power systems, water storage, water treatment, air conditioning, and other necessities. All of these elements are designed to be upgraded or replaced easily, so its components will never be obsolete. Securing all the parts before and after transport requires no more than a hand-held, battery-powered drill. Despite how light it looks, the structure’s chassis is made of heavy steel, so there’s no danger of it being swept away by high winds. Ten Fold technology uses counterbalanced folding linkages that open and close with almost no power but can still resist massive forces.
So, are these actually going to become a reality in the near future, or are they just optimistic concepts? Ten Fold has already made six early prototypes, including a working, full-scale one, and a demonstrator model is due for completion in September 2017. The company is seeking out manufacturers all over the world to meet early demand, with delivery expected in the USA and Europe by next year. The price of each unit will depend on the size, complexity, and add-ons requested by the customer, as well as the cost of delivery to the site. Basic models are likely to start around $130,000.
To get a better idea of how these units unfold and what’s possible with this innovative technology, check out the Ten Fold Engineering website.