HEX-SYS is a reconfigurable and reusable building system OPEN Architecture designed. As our reaction to the unique Chinese phenomenon in the recent decades’ building frenzy – the production of vast amount of flamboyant but short-lived buildings, this modular building system can easily adapt to many different functions, and can be disassembled and reused, thus extending a building’s life cycle and saving great amount of resources. By being modular and prefabricated, it can be built much faster than traditional buildings. This system is part of OPEN’s continuous exploration on mass-customization and the ultimate potential in building sustainability.
Inspired by both the ancient Chinese wooden building system which can be taken apart and rebuilt elsewhere with little damage, and Le Corbusier's Pavilion for Zurich which summarized his lifelong research on modular building systems, we designed this prototype comprised of hexagonal cells with architectural, structural and mechanical systems all synthesized within the same geometrical rules. The composition of cells can be rearranged according to different site and programmatic needs.
The basic building cell is a hexagon module about 40sm, with an inverted umbrella roof structure standing on a single pipe column which double functions as the rain flue. Rainwater is collected and used for landscape irrigation. There are 3 basic types of cells, indoor-open, indoor-closed and outdoor-open, to accommodate different functional needs. A ‘missing’ hexagon in a cluster of cells forms an internal Zen garden, much like the void in Chinese paintings. Building components’ connection details are all designed to be reversible, no welding or glue allowed.
OPEN holds the design patent for this building system. The first realized prototype of HEX-SYS is an exhibition center in Guangzhou China, next to the city’s new train station. It contains exhibition areas, multimedia room, lounge, offices and café. This building demonstrates one possible application of HEX-SYS, but the system can be adapted to many other suitable functions as well.