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The 4 x 2 Factory Concept

The 4×2 Factory is a mobile platform for making ecological, structural and envelope components for dwellings or other shelters such as pavilions, exhibition units, garden rooms on or near the site of the building installation.

The platform can be taken to sites, temporary covered facilities or areas of hard standing and made fully operational within a couple of hours. An option exists to include a canopy structure to the mobile unit ensuring that it is fully weatherised. Many of the components used in buildings today are manufactured in large factories as complete and fully functional composite components. These factory processes ensure quality control, accuracy and a high degree of consistency and repetition.

Our mobile facility simulates many of the processes found in these production facilities such as lifting, turning, setting out, cutting and locating but with significantly less cost and uses far less infrastructure.

Our process allows a small number of operatives to assemble complex entities, simply and accurately and without the need for years of training in many different trades and can be made where the work is actually required.

With a focus on process, excellent communication and full integration with design and logistics, we have seen much of the waste occurring in traditional building removed.

Developed as part of a university funded project, the low-cost mobile factory concept is a result of a culmination of decades of research and development of a sustainable (affordable) process that provides a tangible and user-friendly method to ecological building without adding layers of additional costs.

Bringing the factory to where you want to build

Working with local designers and supply chains, the mobile factory system provides an assembly platform to aid the construction of a range of factory made, structural building components at a local level. The system has been designed around lean processes and existing skills, with the intention of making factory quality and replicability accessible to everyone.

1. Deployment

The mobile micro factory can be stored on a drive in garage or in a container and towed anywhere access permits. Operated by as little as two people the system can be imbedded locally or taken wherever the work is required.

2. Site Set Up

Designed to be operate by almost anyone, almost anywhere, on site or in a temporary facility, short or long term without the large costs of a fixed factory facility. Once detached, the tow vehicle can help supply materials into the assembly processes.

3. Production

Process materials and assemble building components under factory conditions. Make open and closed panels, walls, floors and roof elements and serviced pods. Produce both permanent and temporary structures using factory tooling.

4. Recovery

Pack up and go. Within a couple of hours the system can be packed away and returned to base or taken onto the next job leaving no trace of the production. Storage of the system can have little or no cost implications depending on circumstances

Partners in Design and making

Currently based in Scotland and the North West, the 4×2 Factory is seeking partners that wish to specialise in design and making bespoke architectural installations and buildings that are sustainable, appropriate and beautiful, being both inspirational to make and a joy to use.

We are seeking makers, designers, artists, educators, organisers and engineers and just enthusiastic and inspirational people from all walks of life to become part of our team and help develop an open and inclusive way of creating our built environment sensitively and responsibly.

You will be part of an integrated team where great design and care in making are seen as a single entity that shares ideas openly, helps to educate and inspire, thriving on the creativity achieved through experimentation. Foremost, all our work is conceived from a responsibility to the community in the widest sense, making fab architecture and healthy buildings accessible to a greater number of thresholds in our communities.   

As our name suggests our legacy developments were formed in wood and wood based composite constructions but today with the advent of an increasing pallet of emerging sustainable materials, we seek to include new materials that push our platform into different realms of making. We are keen to work with both single clients through to community-based projects alike and welcome approaches from both professionals and people who just want to make their own buildings or installations.

So, whether you are an architectural practice, carpenter/maker, engineer or educator, self-builder or community project and would like to discuss becoming involved in taking forward or benefiting from our mobile factory concept, please get in touch. 

Partners in Education

The 4×2 Factory seeks partners to help build an educational program in making structures and spaces truly sustainable through a system of learning by doing at a local level.

The 4×2 Factory seeks partners to help build an educational program in making structures and spaces truly sustainable through a system of learning by doing at a local level. We believe that by embedding excellent design, appropriate processes and empathy into a single experience, individuals and organisations, schools and colleges, small business and communities can engage in knowledge exchange and become part of the dialogue that participates in making buildings, thoroughly appropriate, beautiful, in a responsible way and without huge infrastructure or layers of management and unnecessary cost.

Delayering the process, frees up resources providing opportunities to focus more on architectural detailing, specification items and the quality of the overall result.

Our simple but innovative mobile making facilities provide a platform, that can be taken to almost any location, inside or out and enable the construction of composite structures from pavilion buildings, small installations to actual domestic sized structures.  By engaging in a two-way dialogue, all participants share knowledge and develop together whatever their starting skill set.  Learning by doing using our mobile platform is an open and rewarding experience where we foster exciting and positive experiences for both participants and facilitators alike.

Schools, colleges and centres of excellence

We envisage the mobile platform providing an opportunity for participants to engage with interactive lectures both offering general contextual presentations and more targeted services on all aspects of the process of making buildings and structures using appropriate and affordable modern methods.

We see our involvement through facilitators as complementary extension of the existing centre’s activities but offer a break or temporary alternative to a timetable environment.

  • Craft, manufacturing, design and process integration could be covered in seminars or workshop type presentations.
  • Dedicated facilitation sessions, which either helps introduce new themes or encourage the enlargement of an existing knowledge base and provides an opportunity where actual making can take place.
  • Being tailored to drop in as either a reinforcement to the existing curriculum or centre’s teaching programme or be an extension to the education programme through summer type schools.

The mobile platform can be fully weatherised making it possible to offer external events all year round where indoor facilities are not possible and social distancing is still required.

It is our vision that our collaborative approach brings a diverse and enthusiastic method of creating structures but also serves to provide a sense of empowerment and liberation from the normal demarcations in life which is equally applicable to those not involved in construction but just want to be part of a collaborative initiative and use their hands to make exciting things.

Future Horizons

International Partners

It is very much our hope that future iterations of our making platform will be developed internationally, and a sharing of ideas and concepts will bring together different communities under a single umbrella where a common language strives to communicate how to make places where people want to be, that are healthy, safe and fulfilling, significantly enhancing the environment around them and not at the detriment of other neighbourhoods or subsequent generations.


The original research considered the mobility of the platform suitable to be deployed as an emergency response system to help restructure communities devastated by disasters both natural and manmade.

Within 24 hrs, it is possible that these mobile facilities can provide immediate operational manufacturing capabilities. Constructing both semi-permanent and permanent structures that provide shelter and civic structures where relief work is required and could become part of the long-term healing process.

Economic Development

Short/Medium/Long term infrastructure build in response to emergency/ emerging economy/development opportunity.

The Mobile factory unit can provide autonomous manufacturing and training facilities to local people remote of infrastructure.

Become a Partner

To learn more about our work or to enquire about becoming a partner in design or education please email us on…

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