Loblolly House proposes a new, more efficient method of building through the use of building information modeling (BIM) and integrated component assemblies. The thousands of parts, which make up a building are collapsed into a few dozen off-site fabricated assemblies that are simply attached to an industrial aluminium frame on-site.
The frame, comprised of Bosch Rexroth aluminium framing, is bolted together as opposed to welded, creating a structural system for the house which can be disassembled without affecting the capacity of beam and column components to be reconnected. The bolted scaffold serves as a frame into which off-site fabricated kitchen, bathroom and mechanical blocks, and floor and wall cartridges are inserted without the use of permanent fasteners or wet connections. Upon disassembly cartridges and blocks are removed as whole units and column/beam scaffold sections are unbolted.
Located on a barrier island off the coast of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, Loblolly House seeks to deeply fuse the natural elements of its site to architectural form. Positioned between a dense grove of loblolly pines and a lush foreground of saltmeadow cordgrass and the bay, the architecture is formed about and within the elements of trees, tall grasses, the sea, the horizon, the sky and the western sun that define the place of the house. Timber foundations minimize the footprint and provide savannah-like views of the trees and the bay, and the staggered boards of the east facade evoke the solids and voids of the forest.
The embodied energy of the Loblolly House is perversed by the easy disassembly and reassembly of its essential elements. The disassembly and redeployment potential is evident in the detailing and quality craftsmanship of the energy intensive scaffold, blocks, cartridges, and service spines. This ensures a
design-for-disassembly strategy where the components with the highest embodied energy can be disassembled and redeployed with a minimal loss of energy.
‘Loblolly House is not only a statement in favour of a more ecological approach, it is an essay in prefabrication
demonstrating KieranTimberlake’s engagement, with craft, with industry and with manufacturing. The new techniques they utilise includes, scaffolding, grand blocks and cartridges…. Loblolly House gains its authenticity from the integration of space, structure and layered environmental systems.’
Professor Michael Stacey, Introduction, in Kieran, S., Timberlake, J., eds.
Loblolly House: Elements of a New Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press, pp.10-11.