San Francisco CA
After months of research into why prefabrication has not been the glowing success people had hoped it would be, a collaboration between architecture firm OTA+ and S/U/M developed an answer: mix prefabrication and CNC technology with the current trend of mobile food trucks. Rapid Type: A Mobile Coffee platform is their first prototype for a mobile, pre-fabricated food service pod. Construction was completed in the Fall of 2010.
OTA+ and S/U/M were given a generous donation of Alpolic, which is a unique aluminum composite material manufactured by Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc. In order to explore the full potential of the material, Kory and Andre developed their design with one goal: push the material as far as possible within the limits of currently available CNC fabrication technology.
Though Rapid Type targets the slow drip coffee movement, the larger agenda of the project was to explore the gap between highly-designed prefabricated buildings and under-designed food trucks. Prefabrication remains a buzz word in the field of architecture, but has failed to deliver a reliable and cost-saving economic model for building construction. In fact, the only prefabricated structures that have performed consistently well are not buildings at all. The appearance of food trucks has exploded in the past few years and their visibility is only continuing to grow. The studio decided to latch on to this growing trend by offering a new and unique design using proven methods of mass manufacturing. Rapid Type is a full-service mobile sales platform that offers high-design, ease of assembly, and full mobility. The project combines the best of prefabricated building construction mixed with the financial vitality of the food truck movement. The prototype is designed to accommodate a variety of consumer markets.