Tuesday, June 07, 2011

USA New Wall - Swedish Platform Frame, the future of house building

At the end of my Best Wall post I promised to introduce the Swedish Platform Frame. First we will look at the context. The Swedish Platform Frame is the next evolutionary step in stud framing. Thats a pretty bold claim for a nobody architect from New Jersey. But its true.

Balloon Framing revolutionized house building in America with the introduction of the first stud framed system. Wester Platform Framing refined the method making the required studs smaller, easier to transport to site, easier to mill. Its served us well, but house building is under new pressures to deliver greater energy performance, and the once brilliant Western Platform Frame is simply no longer up to the job. Times have changed. The Swedish Platform Frame method is the next sensible evolution of these stud framing methods and is destined to replace them as the way we build houses in the US.

I make this bold sounding claim simply because it is not so bold. What sounds like a prediction has already come to pass. The Swedish Platform Frame has already replaced the Western Platform Frame, not here in the US but in Sweden of course. So this claim is no stretch at all. As a solution the Swedish Platform Frame has already been vetted by 40 years of home construction. It has already be tested, gone through its experimental phase and refined. All the tough work has already been done. Here in the US we have a much simpler task of adapting the method to work with our current building materials, and over time adapting the materials to work better with system, taking even greater efficiency from it.

So rather than consider it a presumptuous claim to appoint the Swedish Platform Frame as our destiny in house building, rather I'd say it would be grandly presumptuous of us here in the US to believe that we have come up with something better in the few short years we've been trying. Or that even given another 10 or 20 years we would have a solution more efficient, or more compatible with current practices. It would be an extreme show of hubris to ignore what has already been hard learned, refined, executed, and transformed a housing industry. Ignored because we had a notion that we could come up with our own solution, that our own would be better for us some how. No. Time to open our eyes to what has already happened.

Next we'll look at the details.

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