February 16th, 2011
It seems like every day more and more architects are striving to find a balance between traditional forms of design and construction and the world of digital prefabrication. As society rapidly expands and the demand for affordable structures rises, so does the need to find a method that can keep up with the increasingly rapid demand on the industry. But when did prefabrication start?
It is often thought that the beginning of prefabricated structures started after the World Wars. It was a time when the destruction left by the wars had taken away most of the existing urban fabric of Europe, and there was a need to replace the torn down structures rapidly and efficiently.
Prefabrication would not be possible without the advancements made during the industrial revolution. It was the advancements in industrial mechanized fabrication that allowed for true prefab to become a viable option in design and construction.
So if prefabrication was a product of the modern and postmodern era of architecture, why is it that there is evidence of prefabrication dating as far back as approx. 17,000 years ago? The site is Puma Punku, an ancient ruin adjacent to the ancient city of Tiwanaku in central Bolivia.
The site, located in the highland of Bolivia, is covered in ancient megalithic stones that suggest some catastrophic event tore the structure to rubble. Like most ancient ruins, scientists and archeologists have studied it and are puzzled with the results.
Within the stonework found at Puma Punku there is evidence of prefabrication at a colossal scale. Unlike at Stonehenge, the stones at Puma Punku are cut so precisely they interlock like pieces of an elaborate puzzle.
The quality of the stonework and the immense size of the stones, up to hundreds of tons each, defy what was possible using stone age tools. Archeologists have found evidence of machining and the use of mechanized carving techniques. Some stones have interlocking joinery and grooves that are just a few millimeters thick with a uniform depth, which would be impossible to do using stone chisel. In fact the types of stone found on the site are Granite and Diorite, which says a lot about what tools where used to cut them. Granite and Diorite are both extremely hard stones, so hard that the only means possible of cutting them is by using the only other stone that is harder, which is diamond. This suggests that the tools used to cut these stones must have been diamond tipped.
I know this seems impossible to believe but the evidence speaks for itself. Ancient man must have been way more advanced in terms of design and construction than we give them credit for. Although most of the ancient knowledge has been lost throughout history, research and time slowly start to unravel the mystery behind these prefabricated stones at Puma Punku.
VIDEO : History Channel [Puma Punku]