When is a pre-fabricated house a pre-fabricated house?
A pre-fabricated house has numerous advantages: pre-manufactured in the plant, dry construction method, short building time, energy efficiency—to name just a few. All these characteristics also apply to our HUF Houses. However, does this also make them pre-fabricated houses? Or should they rather be classified timbered houses due to their timber-framed construction and the timber frame often filled with glass? Or are those architects right who describe them as a frame or skeleton construction?
Pre-fabricated house, timber-framed house or skeleton construction: the HUF House combines some of the best characteristics of both modern and traditional architecture.
Pre-manufactured houses are booming.
The pre-fabricated house market is booming.
The times are long gone in which pre-built houses were synonymous with uniformity and cheap construction. On the contrary, the number of developers who value the advantages of pre-fabricated houses is increasing.
What is most appreciated is plan-ability, speed and quality: as the name implies, pre-fabricated houses are completely pre-manufactured at the production plant and can be erected within a few weeks on a prepared pre-constructed cellar or slab. The individual elements form functional entities. This guarantees narrow dimensional tolerances and prevents dreaded thermal bridges. Pre-fabricated houses are also always low-energy houses.
Needless to say, this holds true for HUF’s pre-fabricated houses. Generous glazing combined with the delicate timber frame is the first significant difference from conventional pre-fabricated houses. In this case, the triple insulating glass has a performance similar to that of a thermal-insulated wall. On the one hand, the warmth has to be kept inside the house, on the other, the house should not heat up in strong direct sunlight. Each piece of glass is a high-tech product: vaporised with a reflecting layer and filled with an inert gas blocking heat transfer, the glass panes achieve sensational insulation values and give the HUF Houses their distinctive, transparent appearance and light-flooded interiors.
Most of the bearing components are made of timber. The relatively delicate horizontal and vertical timber beams support the load and redefine the well-established principle of timber-framed houses. The stability and durability of timber-framed buildings can be admired in many old towns. It is not rare to see 500-year old timber-framed houses—even if the sometimes quite lopsided wooden beams may not be a very good example. The current glued and assembled wooden constructions have long overcome this disadvantage.
What has remained is sustainability. As a renewable raw material, wood unites two qualities: it is both ecologically sound and economically efficient. Currently, most pre-fabricated houses are made of wood, as no other raw material combines so many positive characteristics. And yet, there are distinctive differences between our houses and those of conventional pre-fabricated houses: timber-framed HUF houses are neither manufactured based on conventional timber constructions nor conventional solid wood constructions. The slender wood and glass construction provides a frame similar to a skeleton—the very characteristics of what is referred to as a frame or skeleton construction.
This type of construction caters for a high degree of individuality. No HUF House looks like another, since it is possible to arrange the individual elements of the skeleton in an almost indefinite number of ways. Exactly as the owner wishes.
Our conclusion is thus that the discussion about whether or not a HUF House is a pre-fabricated house is purely academic.
HUF Houses combine the advantages of pre-fabricated houses with those of the distinctive visual wood and glass appearance and a modern timber-frame design. The overall package ensures that this building style enjoys growing popularity both on the domestic and international market. At the end of the day, this is what really counts.