We stumbled upon an article on CNN about wooden skyscrapers and ended on a YouTube movie that we thought we should share with you. It is about a wooden skyscraper in Brumunddal, Norway, constructed from CLT, or cross laminated timber.
It is a PR-movie featuring Rune Abrahamsen (CEO of the Moelven construction company) walking in the forest touching trees, and a voice-over with Scandinavian accent for more eco.
But you can’t ignore the fact that this is impressive stuff. 85 Meters up, in wood!
Staircases come in every multi-level house. In the Dutch building code there is a substantial amount of text about staircases and their requirements. Complicated stuff actually, so designing and building staircases is a specialty. We deliver staircases in our houses, but we buy them, we do not design and build ourselves. Specialized factories can do a better job.
Just over a week ago we started a new construction in The Netherlands. It is a log house, insulation on the outside, larch finishing. One of our workers took some photos, and with everybody having a perfect camera in his pocket we thought that they are good enough to share here (even with the horizon not being horizontal). Also he set up his mobile phone to take some time lapse movies, they are at the bottom of this post.
This is just an accidental photo. Was doing an inspection of a wooden house (not finished, you see the metal sheeting sticking out from the roof) and so I took a picture of the sheeting with my phone. And by accident, boom, nice photo.
Whether it is because of the parallel lines or the blue color or the wood I can’t say, but I like the image.
Architects always manage to produce a nice design, more elegant, more balanced. Much more elegant than what we normal earthlings could come up with. Architects also make it more expensive, but hey… it looks better… Beauty has a price.
But then some clients do manage to produce something nice themselves. This client came to us with some simple sketches. They were based on our Eric & Flo but still looked like nothing special. So we translated it into technical drawings and now we are assembling the house. And now look here, what is this? A beauty!
Why one client can do this while most of us need an architect, honestly we don’t know. And what exactly makes this house nice and more elegant than other houses we also do not understand, actually that is why we team up with architects. But nice it is.
This is a traditional loghouse. Laminated massive wood, connected with wooden dowels (Swedes call this a “timmerhus”), and then finished with larch on the outside. Proven techniques and a modern design, it is possible. And yes, the building site is a mess, please ignore that and come back in two months…
In Denmark, close to Legoland, we built a log house for a family of two.
Two during the week, that is. But then in the weekend the kids come over from Copenhagen, and there are grandchildren. The house has extra rooms for friends, and a separate office, and a carport under the main roof.
The design is based on the Eric & Flo, but folded into an L-shape.
As you can see, this panorama was made with a simple phone. The left of the house looks a little chopped of and bits of the roof are hanging in the trees.
These days we design everything in 3D software such as AutoDesk Revit, and sometimes Sketchup. For us the main advantage is that it allows us to more easily communicate with clients.
The old 2D drawings worked very well for the experienced specialist, but for everybody else 3D is easier.
We haven’t seen any HoloLens augmented reality goggles on our building sites yet, but laptops are common. We still think it is a bit risky to open your 3.000 euro MacBook in the dust and the dirt, but hey, you need to check this 3D window connection thing so…
But even with all this 3D stuff some challenges remain. The engineer behind his super 3D CAD station can place a foundation pole to the millimeter in his drawing, but there is no way the guy that runs the drilling machine can place that pole to the millimeter. With wood we can work almost to the millimeter, but foundations have a much bigger construction tolerance. So once on the building site we may find the foundation to be slightly different from what we expected. Now what?
Easy: we use a pencil and a piece of wood, and we fix it. No AutoCAD, no 3D Revit, no HoloLens, just a pencil. Works fine.
Of course there is a risk to it. The flexibility that you get from fixing things on the building site might be offset by the introduction of construction errors. It is exactly this disconnect between the 3D design from the office and the actual implementation on the building site, that made a multi-level car park collapse at Eindhoven Airport.
But for simple things like the windows installation in a log house we feel confident that we can fix it with a pencil.
We are so busy building houses that we hardly have any time left to show off our new projects on this website. And so for one project we showed the roof beams a few months ago, and that was it, no more time to show any progress.
Until now: house is ready, client moved in, and we were invited to his house warming party or whatever you call it these days. Nice weather, good food, friendly guests, relaxed. Nice party.
When we were young we also had house warming parties. Sometimes after the party there was hardly any house left. But that would be difficult with this house: solid logs, almost indestructable, built to last generations. And also the guests were a little more civilized than in the old days…
For those of you who think we are Dutch: yes we are Dutch, because that is where our company is registered and where we build many houses. And for those of you who think we are Lithuanians: yup, we’re Lithuanians too, because that is where we produce. And for those of you who think we are French: nope, we are not French. Well ok, some of our designs come from France, and we build in France quite regularly.
So maybe we are Europeans.
Here some two photos of our latest project in Saint Jean d’Aulps, in the French Alps. Photo’s are not the best quality so we will go back to take some better photos, but this house is absolute top class. Happy customers!
The house looks like a post & beam design, while the massive facade gives the impression of a traditional log home. But actually it is a modern panel house. Three levels times 100 m2 = 300 m2 total (3200 sqft approx.).