Loblolly House on Stilts Stands Up To Traditional Architecture Processes

March 18, 2011

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Kieran Timberlake Architects have been fighting for architecture to improve as other fields have throughout the years, quickly, cheaply, and smarter in design features.

They have questioned why architecture is still done the same way that it has been done for years when professions such as ship building, automotives, and airplane engineering have bounded ahead with technological breakthroughs.

Finally, using their ideas of prefabricated parts for a building in new technological advances in architecture, are displayed in the design of Stephen Kieran’s family’s weekend home, the Loblolly House, located on Taylors Island, Maryland. This is an entirely prefabricated residence of 2,200 sq. ft. on stilts, made up of Loblolly Pine to be one with its surrounding naturalistic elements.

Looking Out of Awning

The house was fabricated in thousands of “building blocks” and assembled on-site in less than six weeks. They describe the process,

“The assembly process begins with off-site fabricated floor and ceiling panels, termed “smart cartridges.” Other features of Lobolly house:

  • The blocks distribute radiant heating, hot and cold water, waste water, ventilation, and electricity through the house.
  • Fully integrated bathroom and mechanical room modules are lifted into position.
  • Exterior wall panels containing structure, insulation, windows, interior finishes and the exterior wood rain screen complete the cladding.
  • The west wall is an adjustable glazed system with two layers: interior accordion-style folding glass doors and exterior polycarbonate-clad hangar doors that provide an adjustable awning as well as weather and storm protection
  • The adjustable awning opens for passive cooling and also closes to store the sun’s energy for off-the-grid heat.

Construction Phase of Loblolly House

The most unique aspect of this house, besides its assembly, is its ability to be disassembled. This allows for easy repairs, alterations, reclaiming and recycling of materials without a harsh impact on the environment.

“It is a vision in which our architecture, even as it is disassembled at some unknown moment, can be relocated and reassembled in new ways from reclaimed parts.”

This truly is a house that blends nature and architecture and will leave a minimal footprint once it has been disassembled and its parts used in a new life.

Kieran Timberlake Architects is on the leading edge of where architecture is heading with their use of prefabricated parts. The future holds no boundaries!

Resources: Kieran Timberlake Architects


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Jennifer Shockley

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and has recently moved back from Michigan. She is finishing up her Master’s degree in Architecture. She is currently focusing on urban planning and sustainable design and hopes to gain employment at a design firm specializing in these areas. Jennifer also has writing experience serving as an editor for her school newspaper and college magazine. Jennifer has two cats named Prada and Dior-aptly named after her shoe obsession. You can follow Jennifer on twitter @jenshock81.
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