adjaye's ed shed + pre fab wood panel technology

from the news comes an interesting link to a new pre-fab project by david adjaye, documented here

i'd like to start a discussion on pre fab wooden slabs/panels with an emphasis on the benefits/disadvantages of dickholz/massivholz type constructions and applicability to usage here in the usa.

I'm not a big fan of the sandwich panels (SIPS) mostly because they just don't seem as durable.

Like SIPS these systems can be used for floors, roofs and walls.
Openings can be cut almost anywhere, so you can have crazy windows like the ed shed.

I have some exposure with these systems and a rudimentary understanding of the concepts.

-prefabricated wood panels come togethor in just a few hours, seriously protracting the construction schedule

-assembly can take place year round, in any kind of weather

-reduced building costs

-optimal thermal insulation (10 cm solid wood is approx 150 cm concrete)

-ecologically friendly, alot of these systems are made of substandard wood which, by itself, wouldn't be useable. used in conjunction makes a superior building element.

-can be shipped pre-finished. no need for GWB or other interior finishes

-improved acoustical insulation

-vapor permeable - open to diffusion but airtight

these systems are ideal for a glazed exterior (thermal storage) and are used by a lot of the graubuenden and vorarlberger architects published in the last decade (walter unterrainer, baumschlager + eberle, bearth + deplazes, etc)

now about that usage in the u.s...
is it just that we'd put thousands of contractors out of business?

Oct 18, 07 5:33 pm

a few other projects...

Oct 18, 07 5:46 pm

and ed's shed here:

Oct 18, 07 6:02 pm

is that 3dh I see?

Oct 18, 07 7:56 pm

b & e rock.

I like those pics, holz.

Oct 18, 07 9:37 pm


i knew i should have posted more pics like these [warning, lots of pics]:





bearth + deplazes

School in Lyss (CH)

random projects


Oct 18, 07 10:36 pm

Wow, I'm sold. What a cool product!

Oct 18, 07 10:48 pm
vado retro

these may be prefabricated but are they don't replace manufactured housing because they are assembly line building. these structures require things like- engineered beams, columns, etc, that most manufactured housing builders aren't gonna touch.

Oct 18, 07 11:21 pm


i'm not attempting to eradicate those lovely manufactured "homes"

but i do feel that if we're going to be making boxes, that we do them in an economical + ecologically interesting way.

and while the panels are prefab, it's not really modular housing.
i think what jennifer segal, studio 804 and others are doing w/ modular homes are interesting and possibly a step in the right direction, it's not really an interest of mine.

i did a small design/build project where everything was built in a garage, trucked on site and installed in a matter of hours. it only took a few more days for the rainscreen, but it was an interesting learning experience.

think a company like weyerhauser would be interested in going this route?

Oct 19, 07 3:50 am

holz is like a one-man modern-building-photo rolodex: this thread, the 'name the architect' thread, and the 'small projects' thread.

Oct 19, 07 7:05 am

Second that.

It seems this is the future of building, and therefore the future of architecture. These examples may be the best of the best, but the advantages for all designers and builders must be obvious. Let the doubters take up the rear.

Wood -- do they think it grows on trees ?

Oct 19, 07 8:25 am

What excites me about this product is that wood grows like grass back home. I haven't yet heard of a composite products hitting their stride, and using composites makes such sense when you have an abundance of material available locally.

Oct 19, 07 9:55 am

Plastic wood makes baby jesus cry...

Oct 19, 07 10:01 am

just trying to foster discussion, steven.

Oct 19, 07 2:11 pm

More photos -- more, more !

If species of softwoods (or hardwoods, for that matter) can be sustainably farmed, as is being done, the product is ready to mill and use -- in nice straight lengths. Composites of 100% wood + resin -- OSB, glue-lams and composite structural members -- require more energy (and chemicals) to produce, while Trex and similar are heavily dependant on energy and (at present) petroleum, as I understand it. But these manufactured products consume second-quality and scrap wood, so they are useful at present. Perhaps they will always have a place in the scheme of things ? At least these products are stable and uniform, a big architectural plus (see "aging" thread).

Can you describe what is seen above ? I seem to see SIPs (?) as well as solid-lumber (the British say "timber") builidng components. What is ed's shed made of ? I see grooves on the surface of the exterior boards -- which were hung on the square-grid furring shown ? What is the grooved lumber shown in close-up end view ?

Oct 19, 07 2:47 pm

And WHO the heck started staining ed's shed and then finished the job later ??

Oct 19, 07 2:48 pm
FOG Lite

Alright holz,
You're throwing around a lot of German that with the help of Google and Wikipedia I've been able to figure out a bit more. But I'd still like to see some drawings and more detail on how its made. Have you found any wall sections or details?

And how soon can I get thesein New England?

Oct 19, 07 2:57 pm

most of the above products are solid lumber, cross laminated.
insulation goes on the outside, typically.

i don't think there are any SIPS.

I am not sold on them at all. but prefabricated panels really intrigue me, especially the protracted construction period.

i'll add more photos later, possibly. that was a lot for one friggin post.

Oct 19, 07 2:59 pm

maybe i should just open up a mill

Oct 19, 07 2:59 pm
FOG Lite

and lots of clamps

Oct 19, 07 3:11 pm


Linotrend details found here

It’s like building w/ butcher block…

Oct 19, 07 3:27 pm

Yow ! (OK, no more photos until next page -- takes too long to load !)

Somewhat analagous to what we called lumbercore sheet goods. Good stuff.

If the face panels are glued to the core in a symmetrical manner (ie, simultaneously) flatness should be good. I assume they have big presses ? Or are they mechanically fastened (i.e., staples and glue) ? Sorry, I'll read the link. . .

I just like buildings that LOOK like this !

Oct 19, 07 3:35 pm

[protracted = lengthened]

Oct 19, 07 3:38 pm
vado retro

whatcha oughta do is move up to amish country rent yerself a preengineered steel building hire some amish carpenters and take orders for panels. oh and hire an engineer too cuz every cantilever, every elevation that does not meet r602.10.6 etc of the irc, catwalk etc takes these designs to different level.

Oct 19, 07 3:42 pm

shortened, not lengthened. good call.

vado's a dreamcrusher.

Oct 19, 07 4:00 pm
vado retro

actually i think its a good idea. if someone started a business that could capture some of the "custom" prefab market and maybe design their own as well.

Oct 19, 07 4:06 pm

Go go go ! You know someone's going to do it, and not as well as you would.

Oct 19, 07 4:46 pm

Like I said, wood grows like grass in New Zealand. Perfect for a custom prefab wood panel factory...

Oct 19, 07 4:51 pm

yeah! slap it together!!!!

Oct 21, 07 2:29 pm

ran across this in the news section, adding in case this becomes a usable reference...

dRMM's prefab house

Nov 2, 07 3:45 am

image overload...I can't tell you if I liked those or much bleached wood...ack!

Nov 10, 07 7:22 pm

I'm still doing searches so maybe I'll come up with something, but how do you deal with electrical conduit and plumbing if there are no cavities? Or do you use a different system on walls that you need that?

Nov 11, 07 12:31 am

If this is 10cm think it's quite a bit more wood going into the walls than with typical US style framing. But I guess if it's wood that is otherwise unusable... plus you don't need finishes... hmmm..... and I guess you don't need plywood sheeting for sheerwalls.

Nov 11, 07 12:36 am

I guess not !

Nov 11, 07 12:54 am

Apparently there are channels cut into the panels. In some photos it looked like there was a thin wood veneer over the surface so you could have concealed services with a wood finish. Most examples and details show the channel exposed and the intent is that you finish it with GWB over the top.

"The panels are cut with a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine, so there is little benefit in repetition. Window openings and routes for services can be factory cut very accurately, and the flat-pack kit is delivered and bolted together on site."


“It isn’t cheaper than conventional construction, but you get a lot more quality for your money,” Pringle says.

Sounds good to me.

Any issues with this code wise? Just need an engineer? Now we just need a local manufacturer.

Nov 11, 07 1:20 am
Luis Fraguada

holz...those images of 'ed's shed.' Which Ed are you referring to? Thats near Angel in London no? Off of Essex Road a good 10-15 minute walk. My friend lives in the garden level flat just on the left of the first image of ed's shed.

Nov 11, 07 7:41 am
Luis Fraguada

nevermind...just did some reading...anyhow, thanks for posting so many examples!

Nov 11, 07 7:43 am

holz you are such an img whore. Thanks. I really dig that product, as an eco alternative - granted I have other questions about its structural uses. And those examples are most boxtastic - got to love a well detailed wooden box - sexy!

Feb 27, 08 12:36 pm

structurally, it's like a cardboard model, what could be better?!?

Feb 27, 08 12:39 pm

Simple is good. If you can make it easy, cheap and technically superior too, you're a genius -- or very very lucky. Even if these solutions hit some of those goals, I'm overjoyed.

"Don't kill the box...!"

Feb 27, 08 1:45 pm

Dear David Adjaye,

I want to have your architecture babies.


Feb 27, 08 10:15 pm

the mfr of ed's shed is eurban

Apr 15, 08 12:15 am
FOG Lite

I'm finally getting a chance to use CLT's low these 10 years later and I return to this thread and all the images are gone! I was going to show everyone how cool they could be!

Jun 12, 19 3:29 pm

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