Solutions from the past can often provide practical answers for the problems of the future; as the London-based design and research firm, Space Popular demonstrate with their “Timber Hearth” concept. It is a building system that uses prefabrication to help DIY home-builders construct their own dwellings without needing to rely on professional or specialized labor. Presented as part of the ongoing 2018 Venice Biennale exhibition “Plots Prints Projections,” the concept takes inspiration from the ancient “hearth” tradition to explain how a system designed around a factory-built core can create new opportunities for the future of home construction.
Realized in the form of a brightly-painted model in the exhibition space at Serra dei Giardini, the Timber Hearth system gathers all the service functions, appliances, and fittings that require professional installation in typical residential buildings and contains them within a prefabricated hearth-like structure.
Fabricated in a factory and sized for shipping in one piece, the core is then installed on site and connected to service grids. After that, the remaining construction (including building the floor platforms, partition walls, facade, and roof) can be completed by the homeowners, either by traditional or contemporary timber-frame methods. According to the designers, this affords reasonably-equipped makers the flexibility, freedom, and affordability to build their own perfect home.
Not only does centralizing the complex service areas of a building into a prefab core simplify the construction process of a house, but it also allows for surrounding spaces to be altered over time as the needs of the inhabitants change. In the drawings that accompany the project, Space Popular envisions not only a variety of potential configurations for the concept but also the potential to join multiple cores together to accommodate larger applications.
The Timber Core builds a link between the ever evolving timber industry and DIY culture, between technology and craft; widening the possibilities and options for how one may be able to realise a home for life.
-Lara Lesmes & Fredrik Hellberg, Space Popular
News via: Space Popular