The CLT Core House team continues exploring wood construction technologies and prefabrication in Rural Studio’s latest housing affordability project. The goal for this project is to reduce the overall labor costs on-site by prefabricating one key “core” part of the home in a controlled environment and then transporting it to the site.
It has been a long road of many crumpled sheets and drafted lines. Every week, it feels like we tell our classmates, “We finally have a plan.” As in a house floor plan. How silly we were. Many iterations felt so close, seeming to be just out of reach. If only we pushed one more week, we told ourselves, surely it would work! Alas, our continual effort never seemed to reach that coveted goal. That is one of the great benefits of being at Rural Studio. We have the luxury of time, and great help from teachers and visitors alike, to help us realize when we aren’t hitting the mark. Sometimes it is hard to even find words describing why something may not work. Still, through every iteration, we are learning.
Fresh Air, Fresh Ideas
This semester, we have been hoping to reach one final floor plan. We had a list of requirements and details that we saw as essential. It took a long time to realize that maybe we have been trying to hold on to too many of these “essential” criteria. We have a good concept. We have a core that holds all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems while also acting as the shear structural support for the house. Rather than forcing the concept to work in a plan, we wanted it to inform a plan clearly and effectively. It felt like we were forcing the idea onto floor plans that tended to muddle the ideas.
We have finally developed a plan that is simple and clear while also giving that large family the privacy and utility that they might need. We have been calling it the Donut Plan as there is a free-floating core and program organized around it. There is still a long way to go and plenty of iterations but, “we finally have a plan.”