Interior core sketches

CLT Core House

  • Overview


    Newbern, AL
    5th-Year Project

  • Project Team

    Connor Warren, Paris Copeland, Peter Harpring, Sarah Recht

The CLT Core House explores wood construction technologies and prefabrication with an emphasis on housing affordability, durability, and speed of construction for a small home. Labor costs often represent a large portion of the total cost of building a home. 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 will test the idea of a rural form of off-site prefabrication with a conceptual work force of three people a truck and trailer. The 5th-year student team is designing a quick fastening to the concrete foundation/floor system to further reduce sub-contractor labor costs for when the core unit gets installed on-site.

Rural Studio has explored several forms of atypical wood construction. This house project is the first venture into using mass timber for a home. CLT (cross laminated timber) is an engineered wood product made by cross-laminating dimensional lumber. Each layer is glued perpendicular to the next layer, creating strong wood panels that have enormous compressive and tensile strength. This means that the CLT panels, when configured as a five- or six-sided core space can be rigid in transit, and they will reinforce the lateral stability of the house once built. This offers an opportunity for rethinking the traditional house sheathing and potentially adds to the home’s resiliency against extreme weather and high winds, like tornados.

The core unit for this home consists of the bathroom, kitchen, and mechanical/utility space. For this home’s core, the mechanical and laundry space sits between the bathroom and kitchen. This central position in the core, with all mechanical systems exposed on the CLT panels, offers easier access for repairs and maintenance. Circulation in the home occurs around the core, allowing the homeowner to enjoy the wood CLT walls to make and define the spaces of the house.

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