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The new passive log house

Researchers and students from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Computational Design and Construction designed and built a new take on micro-architecture, made solely of wood and created with computational design and fabrication technologies.

The project explores a novel solid timber building system to economically create “environmentally sound, architecturally expressive, mono-material building envelopes”. The design is described as “effectively a log cabin turned on its side”, as rather than horizontal stacking of logs, the micro-house is constricted of solid upright timber elements.

This vertical position allows for sawn slits in the wood, which serve as stress-relief cuts, preventing the timber from splitting. This ensures structural stability and airtightness, which is much harder to achieve in traditional log construction. In addition, the slits function as dead air chambers, reducing thermal conductivity and increasing wood’s insulation properties.

The tiny house is made from square edged timber construction, which are precision cut by five-axis CNC milling. Thanks to this digital fabrication, the timber can be joint airtight without the need for metal fasteners of adhesives, creating a mono-material construction.

A prototype of the design was built and furnished for the International Building Exhibition Thüringen. Despite the cold winters in Eastern Germany, simulations indicate that the house should prefer up to Passiv Hause standards, a rigorous set of building physics standards that minimise energy use in buildings. The prototype will be closely monitored to verify the test results in real life conditions.

Project credits:
ICD Institute for Computational Design
Prof. A. Menges (PI), Oliver Bucklin, Oliver David Krieg, Victor Rodriguez
Jade Hochschule Oldenburg
Hans Drexler, Marie Deilmann, Geronimo Bujny, Anna Bulavintseva
Internationale Bauaustellung Thüringen
Dr. Marta Doehler-Behzadi, Tobias Haag

Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung
Forschungsinitiative Zukunft Bau

Rettenmeier Holding AG

Klima und Umweltlabel Holz von Hier
Georg Ackermann GmbH
Universal Holzbau GmbH
Glaskontor Erfurt GmbH
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Ingenieurbüro Matthias Münz
Nils Holger Moormann GmbH
hofmann+löffler creativeinrichtungen GmbH
Stadt Apolda

Photos: Thomas Müller / University of Stuttgart