Gallery: DIGITAL HOUSE by Bell Travers Willson

 

We’ve seen CNC technology and other digital techniques used for architectural applications, like in the stunning Loblolly House, but two and a half years of research and development by the architects Bell Travers Willson has taken it to the next level. In collaboration with digital building manufacturer Facit, their Digital House provides “a new method of building houses that harnesses digital design technology and low volume production methods.” And to publicly prove the project isn’t all talk and no action, they’ve completed a their 1:1 Making the Digital House demonstration project (1:1 being an architectural term for full-scale), and followed up with an exhibition at The Architectural Foundation’s Yard Gallery in London.

photos copyright Ludwig Abache

The Digital House brings high-tech building methods to a broad housing market, providing a high quality, well designed and more sustainable alternative to traditional housing. Just how does it work, you ask? The structure is produced using a detailed 3D computer model that includes specs for every single construction element, from entire walls to tiny screw holes. This information is then transfered to a CNC machine (Computer Numerical Control), which cuts the components from engineered timber. The components are then packed and shipped, ready to be assembled into a house of your very own. For some of the larger components, the pre-cut timber sheets are assembled into lightweight hollow “cassettes” , which can be filled with recycled newspaper for insulation and air tightness.

Because the CNC and computer modeling technology allows for detailed customization down to the individual parts, the possibilities for house customization are virtually endless, even more so than the standard pick-and-choose “kit-of-parts” model we see in prefab construction quite frequently.

Nick Willson, Director at Bell Travers Willson Architects, says: “The Digital House offers house builders a real solution to the continued problems of high labour and material costs, sustainability and getting design quality right. It is hard to believe, but Britain is still using house building methods that go back to the Elizabethan age. The Digital House takes a quantum leap in terms of adopting current technology to construct better designed and more efficient housing.”

+ Bell Travers Willson Architects

Via Treehugger

photos copyright Ludwig Abache

Imagine ordering a custom house and having it delivered in a box, opening it and connecting lightweight, manageable pieces without a crane, living in a house where the framing is furniture quality and you don’t even want to cover it with drywall. This is truly the future.

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


12 Comments

  1. pothemus poe October 28, 2007 at 8:37 am

    i said wheres my digital breakfast? and what about my digital newspaper?
    the desighn alone is genericly impressive on a sims3 level.

  2. kadin-yasam-moda-guzellik June 25, 2007 at 7:11 am

    I don’t know. That couple in the top pic don’t look very happy. Like she has some secret longing for someone other than her man downstairs. Gives me a bad vibe about this place.

  3. Hosting March 30, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Bravo!

    Quite an impressive system. It opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities.

  4. Frank T March 29, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Bravo!

    Quite an impressive system. It opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities.

    Tighter construction,quality designs at hopefully affordable using imaginative, sustainable,green methods.

    I’d like to have more details:)

  5. The Edge March 28, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    “ingos Says:
    March 28th, 2007 at 9:16 am
    @ the edge
    the manufacturers site will answer your first questions: http://www.facit-uk.com/info.pdf

    Ah yes! Good catch!

  6. Pooh March 28, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    “In Europe I don’t see many houses built like that, we like more stone, cement and bricks.”

    Actually, here in Finland many of the one-family houses built are pre-fabricated wooden structures. Unfortunately these buildings are not very sustainable, no positioning according to the sun, most materials are not sustainable etc. And these are built on lots outside of towns where public transport doesn´t exist and everyone owns at least one car…

  7. ingos March 28, 2007 at 9:16 am

    @ the edge
    the manufacturers site will answer your first questions: http://www.facit-uk.com/info.pdf

  8. Richie March 28, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Great idea and great realization of such. I’d trade off having to use a small crane for being able to have the exterior elements as Strucurally Insulated Panels (SIP’s) though. Regardless… this is a huge step forward. It is definitely a dawn of a new beginning. The future it portends is one where homeowners will ‘design’ their homes online, using simplified using CAD technology. Afterwhich, they’d send their design out for digital review by lisenced architects and engineers. Then the fun begins. The price of such houses could be drastically reduced from present levels.

    Much like ‘sampling’ records has led to a whole new category of music, the real fun would start when measurements of classic designs are taken and loaded into digital memeory storage. That way… a potential homeowner could cut and paste aspects of these designs together into something new, and hopefully wonderful. This Brave New World apparently starts NOW !

  9. Sheldon March 28, 2007 at 6:51 am

    “…and followed up with an exhibition at The Architectural Foundation’s Yard Gallery in London.”
    Annoyingly this was for 6th-20th March so there is no chance of being able to go along and have a look for myself. Although http://www.facit-uk.com gives the impression that this is not intended to be a one-off although exact details of how it all works is a bit scant. Another home-build to add to the list of potentials when I find my plot of land.

  10. The Edge March 27, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    The article doesn’t say anything about whether the timber is harvested in a sustainable fashion or whether it’s formaldehyde free. For use in the U.S., it would be great to see FSC-certified wood and formaldehyde-free wood composite materials. Then we’d have a truly environmentally-friendly process.

  11. spinsLPs March 27, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t know. That couple in the top pic don’t look very happy. Like she has some secret longing for someone other than her man downstairs. Gives me a bad vibe about this place.

  12. realthor March 27, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Wow, that’s freaking. Imagine someone at your door: “House delivery!!!” What tip would you let for that load;))
    On the other hand, if the quality was good, many chalets and holiday houses will be made like that. In Europe I don’t see many houses built like that, we like more stone, cement and bricks.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >