Entries tagged as 'system'
An interesting story from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana:
Most of the companies we track use a small number of accepted framing techniques. Some use SIPs:
Others use traditional framing (whether wood or steel):
And a few use unique metal framing systems:
Worth noting: the plywood framing system used in the BURST* model, currently on view at MoMA's Home Delivery show, used a similar plywood framing system.
subtitle: Prototype utilizes experimental walls made of plywood
publication: The Ball State Daily News Online
author: Sean Armie
length: 550 words
publication date: September 7, 2008
Referencing a talk given by Steven Kieran and James Timberlake a few years back, Lloyd explained why the Cellophane House is so exciting:
Visit Treehugger to read Lloyd's complete post.
Here's more info from the KieranTimberlake project page for the home:
Like their Loblolly House, this one is designed to be easy to put together and take apart.
They describe the concept using soaring rhetoric:
Definitely worth a view: a time-lapse video of the home's assembly.
I'll give Lloyd the final word (as I'm inclined to agree):
model: Cellophane House
designer: KieranTimberlake Associates
size: 1,800 sf
how: aluminum framing system
More detail on the "gro(w)ability" of the home:
The Texas A&M Solar Decathalon Website has more background information on the team and the project.
A few of the prefab companies we cover already use similar standardized systems:
We missed this item last year when we covered West Coast Green 2007: the EPA's Lifecycle Building Challenge. From a West Coast Green email:
The Challenge returns to this year's show. The ability to take apart a building and re-assemble it elsewhere seems like prefab in its purest form.
where: West Coast Green 2008
deadline: July 31, 2008
Update: The model appearing in the MoMA show will be the BURST*008.
Artdaily provides some details:
Designed to be assembled on site from laser-cut pieces, the Burst *003 house is a computer-designed remake of the typical prefabricated box. Working from a computer formula that automates the specific pieces needed to create the house desired, the project is based on a system that can be adapted to a changing set of criteria. The 2003 prototype of the Burst *003 project was built on Australia's Northeast coast, and won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects 2006 Wilkinson award.
Architecture Australia explains further:
Laying out the plywood pieces was achieved using the software program used in garment manufacture with very little wastage. While high technology is used throughout the design and manufacturing process, low technology is intentionally employed for assembly and for maintenance. Assembly requires fewer skills but intense cooperation and concentration. The building was put together by architecture students in something akin to a barn raising. The architects are fond of this image, yet recognize that the design’s reliance on numbers of enthusiastic and sympathetic cheap labourers will make it less desirable for some.
Plywood cut by a computer-controlled laser. Delivered to site in sheets with the ribs numbered, scored, and holes cut.
Laser cutting 1 of 400 sheets.
Sorting 1,100 pieces of laser-cut plywood.
Underside of floor structure.
Laser-cutting efficiency -- the total waste from the plywood sheets.
I can't help but be excited for the potential of the BURST* system and look forward to seeing the home at MoMA.
how: kit of parts
This video has been getting a lot of attention; it has 739 Diggs and counting.
The company is known as MasterFit in the US and MetalFit in Japan. However, the only website we can find for the company is the Japanese site. (Google translation)
Treehugger saw the system a couple years back:
"The components of the house are actually numbered, and are constructed as you would a piece of kit furniture. Materials cost 10-20% more than those for conventional framing, but the cost is offset by reduced labor expense..."
The "no tools" approach is similar to the kitHAUS system, except with wood members. Both systems enable relatively unskilled laborers to frame an entire home.
Quon Modular is a semi-custom prefab system from Australia. Each room is a (mostly) self-contained module, measuring 5 m x 3.1 m (16 ft x 10 ft). Buy exactly what you need placed side-by-side, stacked, or each by itself.
Materialicio.us loves the concept:
"For me, this is the simplest, most efficient system yet devised for a customized, prefabricated house. Design your house using their standard components, place the order, and ten weeks later it's delivered."
Few prefabs offer such a flexible approach. The weeHouse series from Alchemy Architects allows for the addition of specialized modules, such as the sleepTight, but their modules vary in size. v2world was offering a similar product in their v2shell, but last we heard, they were reworking their product line.
company: Quon Modular
size: each module is ~140 sf
price: starts at ~$150,000 for 4 modules (br, bath, kitchen, multi-purpose)
finish level: complete, inside and out, including light fixtures, utilities, and finish
(More coverage: Treehugger)
Exchange rate used: $A1.168 = US$1.00
RAL Homes is a company in Victoria, Australia producing home kits that resemble Quonset Huts. The RAL Home kits can be combined in a number of formations, and even added on to your existing home. The kits consist of a series of pre-framed panels which join together to form an arch.
"The components arrive on site, complete with hardware and including an illustrated Assembly Manual. Two workers with a basic knowledge of Carpentry skills and standard tools simply bolt panels together. The external Colorbond corrugated steel roofing and leaf-free guttering system make RAL Homes virtually maintenance free."
company: RAL Homes
style: like Quonset Hut
how: stud-framed panels bolted together to form arches
features: large open spaces, exterior metal cladding, large wood-framed window walls
finishes: corrugated metal cladding (exterior); interior your responsibility, but comes with rough sanded waterproof plywood
not included: exterior steps/rails, on-site labor, onsite mechanical systems, transportation
Back in 1960, designers George Nelson & Co. "threw out the old-fashioned and inefficient ideas inherent in many of [the day's] conventional houses." The design took advantage of the growing modern movement. One can easily see parallels with today's prefab ideals:
"They concentrated their thinking on greatly improved performance, mass production materials, extreme flexibility and a minimum of building parts..."
The Industrialized House featured:
Large homes would be formed by assembling a number of the cubes in large groupings, with air space between:
"... to provide the utmost in privacy and quiet ... Nelson's solution was to separate the rooms and join them by corridors made of the smaller extender units. Since the cube house offers complete design freedom, it can be perfectly adjusted to the building site to provide the desired seclusion and quiet."
We've reported on disaster relief housing before. Prefab methods are ideally suited for quick, cheap housing in far flung, resource-starved areas. An organization named CalEarth (California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) has developed a method of home building that requires little more than the earth present at a homesite.
CalEarth's designs are based on a proprietary product called Superadobe Earthbags. The bags come in widths ranging from 12" to 26" and can be ordered up to a mile long. Combined with barbed-wire and earth from the site, the bags create super-strong structures:
"To build simple emergency and safe structures in our backyards, to give us maximum safety with minimum environmental impact, we must choose natural materials and, like nature itself, build with minimum materials to create maximum space, like a beehive or a sea shell. The strongest structures in nature which work in tune with gravity, friction, minimum exposure and maximum compression, are arches, domes and vault forms. And they can be easily learned and utilize the most available material on earth: Earth."
CalEarth has experimented with a number of designs and implementations using Superadobe, ranging from the Eco-Dome house, aka the "Moon Cocoon", to emergency shelters. Features of the Eco-Dome include:
(Hat tip: Inhabitat shared a bunch of photos and thoughts on the design last week.)
"Container City™ is an innovative and highly versatile system that provides stylish and affordable accommodation for a range of uses.Developer Urban Space Management installed the original Container City I in an amazingly short 4 days. Construction time start-to-finish came to an admirable 5 months. The project utilized 20 shipping containers to build 15 individual housing units.
The Container City™ system uses shipping containers linked together to provide high strength, prefabricated steel modules that can be combined to create a wide variety of building shapes and adapted to suit most planning or end user needs.
This modular technology enables construction times and cost to be reduced by up to half that of traditional building techniques while remaining significantly more environmentally friendly."
Brand Avenue covered the system a while back:
"I appreciate how they acknowledge temporality: implicit in their no-nonsense construction, and the light ways they touch the ground, is the idea that the site can and will be cleared someday, and something else will take their place. In this way, they interact rather respectfully with context..."
YouTube has a clip from the History Channel's Modern Marvels about the home:
"Our modules are constructed on site in a matter of days, not months, and because of [the framing system's] lightweight properties can get into the hardest [to] reach places, without heavy equipment."
I had the chance to see the system for myself at the CA Boom show, and thought it was quite impressive. Clamps are used to hold the structural members together; bolts are only used to tighten the clamps. The kitHAUS reps did inform me that power tools are necessary to tighten the bolts, as hand tools wouldn't achieve the proper torque.
The system manufacturer's website has images, and even a cool video (MHS.WMV at the bottom of the main page) to show how the system comes together. For those interested, there are detailed reports on the structural testing of the system.
I spoke with Alan Koch yesterday about their aluminum and glass iT House:
Why didn't you return to CA Boom this year?
"It was a lot of work last year and we didn't feel like it was our audience. Our house is a little more fussy than some. It requires a big leap of faith to live in an all glass house. It's not cheaper faster; it's a lifestyle choice. [Our audience is] a very niche market. It's not the general population, not even people interested in modern homes. It's about getting in touch with something - themselves or the landscape. It's a tool for reaching a new state."
I noticed you removed all information about standard models from your website, what is the plan there?
"We're not sure about the models and are reevaluating currently. Because of the way we were trying to offer the building before, we weren't really sure what it was. There was something about the way that it was presented that implied anything was changeable - that someone could build a 5,000sf iT House. It doesn't translate to that scale."
You and your wife have a variety of work in your portfolio, why prefab?
"We explore all kinds of things, stumble upon interesting things and do something with them. It's not exciting to just talk about problems architects are interested in. Prefab is not totally in the realm of the architect. We like and are satisfied by the process of figuring out prefab."
What do you think is one advantage of prefab?
"All the story that's published right now is 'modern and cheaper.' It is cheaper in a way; none of our clients could afford the design time we've poured into the house. Everyone who does buy an iT House gets the benefit of the hours of design time...for a cheaper price."
I understand that you are building an iT House prototype in the California desert. How is that going?
"We are almost finished with the model, and have done a lot of the work ourselves. We can't do everything, like roofing. But we did things like the frame. It was very simple to put together: 4 guys, 1 day, no skills and we had no problem setting up the whole frame. If you show the drawings to a contractor, they get worried because it's not something they know, so they tend to overcharge."
To find out more about the iT House prototype, check out the iT House blog.
The custom clamping technique of the MHS (modular housing system) reduces site construction time to a few days. The lightweight aluminum can be assembled without heavy equipment, is resistant to rust and termites, and never needs to be painted.
Exterior cladding is offered in Zinculume (corrugated metal panels) or Ipe wood, both of which are weather resistant and durable. Interior surfaces come un-finished, requiring you and your local contractor to handle flooring and wall coverings, and all cabinetry, lighting, and other fixtures.
kitHAUS offers four standard modules, as well as 5 example configurations on their website. The standard building blocks are 17' square. K1 features a loft; K2 has a flat roof. The K3 module is smaller, at 9' x 13', and the K9 module (an actual offering) is a 4' x 4' home for your dog. The configuration examples range from 512 sf to 768 sf, but it is possible to combine more modules to create a dwelling (or doghouse) of any size.
The kitHAUS system offers a flexibility that is unmatched by any other home at the CA Boom show. The lightweight framing system and ease of assembly allow the kitHAUS to go places other prefab can't. For instance, if your homesite is on an island, or up some windy mountains roads, the kitHAUS can make the journey.
price: $3,500 - $59,000 for standard modules
size: 16sf - 768sf for the standard configurations
how: patented MHS framing system
timeline: delivery in 6 - 12 weeks, finishes applied post-delivery