New technologies and classic materials merge to create a brilliant new concept in the form of the IBA Timber Prototype House or microhouse.

This prototype explores the manner in which digital fabrication can be used to facilitate low-cost timber construction. An airtight, greatly sustainable microarchitecture model building system defined as a log cabin turned on its side, this little wonder was custom designed at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart in correspondence with PassivHaus standards and as a presentation of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen. The model can be seen until Sept. 29 in Apolda.

The IBA Timber Prototype House displays and demonstrates the manner in which computerized design and fabrication technology can make the concept of low-cost timber construction a viable, economical, creative and most literally constructive building method. The amazing single material structure was culled from a collection of staggered upright spruce timber frames that come complete with narrow slits doubling as stress-relieving cuts; slits that will prevent splitting and dead-air chambers, thus enhancing insulation values without reducing structural capacity. This exquisite method of digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also provided for the making of precision-cut airtight joints which connect the timber. This means that no metal fasteners nor adhesives will be required to build these purely and uniquely timber-based homes in the future.

The small house boasts curving walls and roof, created through a process of digital fabrication, and an amazing U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without added insulation—perfect to adhere to PassivHaus standards and withstand the coldest winters.

By relying on classic wooden materials, this innovative building system avoids the creation of buildings that are tough to recycle and whose use can result in higher energy bills. Wood elements, by contrast, minimise layers and can be taken apart easily for eventual recycling. And this is a homegrown model, with all wood being taken from the area of Thueringen, the site of the home’s construction—thus allowing for the reduction of energy costs associated with transporting model materials across transportation networks.

Overall, this revolutionary form of microarchitecture is a big move toward global sustainability.