The Wired Home Goes Green: First Pix of Loblolly House


"Green Architecture is now sleek, sharp and nearly invisible" says the title of the feature section in the January Wired. They have selected seven green projects that are heavy on the technology, and range from the wired through expired. It starts with the first pictures we have seen of Kieran Timberlake's Loblolly House, which we have been excited about for two years. (see earlier post) It looks like a Borg Cube, has almost as much technology, and is as completely alien to construction as we know it. Kieran and Timberlake "realized that architecture needed the equivalent of an integrated circuit. They began to combine glass, drywall, pipe and and wood frames into finished units, each precision-engineered for cost, beauty, and sustainability." Watch for more about this house, which we think will be one of the most important of this decade. "Its not a house, but a new production process for architecture" ::Wired but not online yet.


From Architectural Record:

KTA's Loblolly departs most wholly from past prefab models through its innovative component-based design, in which KTA minimized the number of parts. "We want materials we can take apart like used auto parts, as opposed to ending up with rubble," Kieran says. Unlike many houses, even those built with sustainability in mind, Loblolly's components, or elements, as the architects call them, could be unbolted and reconfigured at another site for a different house or, as the architects like to demonstrate in their public lectures, sold off in pieces on eBay....KTA set about early in the process creating a supply chain of materials and products that could feed the assembly line of elements that would constitute the house. Timberlake considers this the most difficult aspect of the firm's attempt at true prefabrication because, he notes, the "construction industry is so fragmented, with no control of the supply chain and new suppliers starting up every day."

The architects divided the chain between three tiers of suppliers and a final assembler, much in the way automotive companies outsource major components of each car with final assembly at factories throughout the world. In the case of the Loblolly House, Bensonwood—a New Hampshire—based timber-frame-house company—acted as both a supplier and the final assembler. Bensonwood recently completed a quasi-prefab house as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Open Prototype Initiative, which streamlines a design-build approach for high-quality custom houses with quick construction schedules. Bensonwood, as well as a construction manager, Arena Program Management, collaborated with KTA to devise the specifics of the supply chain for Loblolly.

more at ::Architectural Record