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Outback Staked House: flexibility, versatility and universality

Prefab houses always come with some kind of revolutionary architectural solution. Moreover, the modular building system, usually identified with prefabs, reminds me of the hidden geometry present in every element of nature! Flexibility, versatility and universality are qualities that often escape the conventional way of building: I’m talking about the use of standard modules leading to a minimal waste of materials and reduced labor costs.

Placed in the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury River at Dangar Island, Australia, the Outback Stacked House successfully presents my beliefs in prefab architecture!

A lightweight structure creates the body of three pavilions joined by suspended walkways, interlaced among tall trees without disturbing the soil. The first pavilion houses the kitchen, living and dining areas at the upper level; below it, three bedrooms and a bathroom benefit from a more intimate environment. A painting studio and a bathhouse complete the remaining two pavilions accessed by covered walkways – it’s all about getting close to nature.

The steel frames that compose this prefab building are bolted together in a skeleton structure. Then, as these frames are of standard dimensions, building materials such as plywood or fibre cement sheets, glass louvres, canvas or even roller doors, can be slotted into this skeleton.

As I mentioned before, flexibility in the constructive and technical options; universality in the choice of site; versatility is the main quality of this innovative design: theoretically a simple house can be erected using modular systems to define sizes and layouts, and then work out which panels would be a wall, a window or a door…

* More info at Sue Harper Architect

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