Modular architecture and the tetra shed
Image: tetra shed® in the forest
David Ajasa-Adekunle is a hugely inspiring and up-and-coming architect who has created products from designer yachts to modular working spaces.
He has used the British Library to gain advice on intellectual property, patent searching, how to expand his business and he also met the Queen at one of our exhibition openings!
I interviewed him to find out what inspires him and to talk specifically about his tetra shed® project.
In a few words, how would you describe what you do and who you are?
I am a director at Innovation Imperative, an architecture practice currently working on a number of interesting architecture and product design projects.
What inspired you to become an architect and develop the tetra shed®?
At school, from the age of seven, carpentry was my favourite extra-curricular activity. Three times a week our small group of aspiring woodcrafters would learn how to make practical little additions to the home. I always knew I’d do something creative and this led me to architecture.
The idea for tetra shed® initially came when I saw a competition to design small buildings that could be mass-produced. I ended up deviating from the brief and became very interested in modular construction. Tetra shed® was actually born out of a general move within the practice towards modern methods of construction a few years ago. We wanted to create a new modern, flexible, efficient and affordable building system which is also architecturally exciting in both singular and multiple use applications.
Image: Inside the tetra shed
What business challenges and successes have you had so far?
Tetra shed® has received interest from over 15 countries with the most international interest coming from North America. At one point around three quarters of my web traffic was from the US and Canada so there is huge interest from that part of the world. One big success has been the amount of press coverage the project has received.
In terms of challenges, I would say don’t underestimate the time it can takes to protect your idea, get a manufacturer on board and actually start selling.
The other big lesson is that it helps to have a good understanding of the manufacturing process, especially when multiple manufacturers and suppliers are involved. Efficiency of the overall process (both in terms of cost and deliverability) is key. I always wanted tetra shed® to be affordable, so this is very important. The other challenge is to provide a readily adaptable building fabric to suit all environments which is financially viable.
Image: tetra shed® in the mountains
So, the big question. What’s next?
Having exhibited the tetra shed® garden office prototype at this year’s Grand Designs Live show in May, we plan to launch the finished product in the late Summer/early Autumn – it will actually be on show at our office in London for the public to come and see and discuss with us the various options available. By the end of the year, we plan to have completed designs of our much anticipated tetra shed® house which is an enlarged single unit dwelling – a new kind of ‘kit house’.
Continued R&D in tetra shed® multiple unit use, and in particular multi-storey applications, will be ongoing as the full potential of the system is yet to be completely explored, designs for which will gradually populate the tetra shed website.
Besides tetra shed®, we plan to further develop our yacht concept design which was short listed in The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2012 - and we are working on a few interesting housing and product design projects which I could perhaps share with you another time...
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Go to the Tetra Shed website to find out more