Summer Cottage Is Prefabbed Out of Cross-Laminated Timber

©. Kariouk Associates

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, makes so much sense these days. Trees are renewable; wood construction sequesters carbon for the life of the building. CLT also is a form of flatpack prefab, where the sheets are cut to size at the factory and shipped on a flatbed, then assembled like a house of cards.

Kariouk Associates of Ottawa designed this three season cottage by a lake in Quebec for a family from Manhattan. It replaces an existing cottage of the same size that was in "an advanced state of decay".

living room and beam

© Kariouk Associates

In order to minimize the cost of workers on the construction site while simultaneously ensuring the highest quality of construction, the decision was made early on to pursue the use of prefabricated parts. Specifically, the material selected was CLT, which can be fabricated in panels as large as 60 feet by 10 feet....These were brought to the site, where a steel-post foundation was installed the week before and hoisted into place; the entire shell of the cottage was assembled in less than two days.

Kariouk living room

© Kariouk Associates

That's one big honking glulam beam holding up the roof; a span that long scares me, but I am sure they engineered it for the many feet of snow you get up there.


© Kariouk Associates

North Americans are way behind Europe in the use of CLT, but there is a factory in Quebec now so the stuff doesn't have to be imported from Austria anymore. It's such a precise way of building, with the computer controlled milling machine cutting everything so accurately; even the slot for the electrical conduits are turned into architectural features. I hope we see a lot more CLT used in North America, particularly made with beetle-killed wood. It's a great way to build with wood.

long view down kitchen

© Kariouk Associates

More photos at Architizer.