The Veneer House projects take place in various countries and regions, each with a unique need and context. Some projects do not have electricity on site — in such cases construction has relied heavily on simple tools and cohesive power of the villagers. On the other hand, some sites enjoy access to well appointed factories and facilities. While continuing to improve the Veneer House in search for an easier and stronger system, we have developed 2 main systems as described below.
VENEER HOUSE SYSTEM
The Basic System was the first system we created in the course of our project. This system does not require electricity to produce components — the simple shaped plywood parts can be cut with saws and are assembled and joined with battens and screws.
With the Basic System, plywood is cut into simple geometries, such as I, T, and L-shaped pieces, and are provided with notches. Labor can be simplified by standardizing the dimensions of the plywood parts and the depth of the notches.
With the Basic System, we can create hollow tube structures such as columns and beams by fitting together sets of identical notched components. The junctions between pieces are secured with battens and screws to reinforce the interlocking system. This method requires a lot of plywood, as the notched construction system requires that components overlap. However, the assembly is simple and easy to understand, which also leads to the flexibility that allows last minute adjustments to be made on site.
VENEER HOUSE SYSTEM
The Advanced System uses plywood parts only, and is assembled without nails or screws. Complex components are cut using digital fabrication methods (CNC routers) and then assembled on site.
With digital fabrication, we can now reproduce products of the same quality anywhere where data is shared. When CNC routers are available, we fabricate complex components that result in the best structural performance, material efficiency, and simplicity of assembly.
The Advanced System employs joints with wedges, inspired by traditional Japanese wooden joinery that enables perpendicular connections of separate pieces. This system does not require hardware like nails or screws, and buildings can be disassembled by simply pulling out the wedges. The high degree of precision makes assembly easy, however the building foundation requires similar precision and last minute changes and adjustments at the site are difficult to achieve. The structural efficiency of the system means it requires less plywood than the Basic System. Recently, we have developed a flush joint system that yields a smooth exterior surface. This allows various cladding systems to be attached to the building easily.