Residential Design

VOL.6 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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book on timber frame construction— in fact, he wrote four of them—and was instrumental in reigniting interest in the building art. Timber frames lend themselves to factory fabrication, which Tedd's Benson Woodworking company (later morphing into Bensonwood Homes) embraced. Over time, the company grew the number of building components and assemblies it offered, as well as the types of construction it supported. Today, the company doesn't build an entire house in its factories, but it can fabricate nearly all of its components and assemble them, with local talent, at a building site any- where in the country. "There really is no practical limit to what we can achieve with regard to offsite construction," he says. "We have incredible flexibility in what we can build and what we can contribute to a project." Iterating and Perfecting Bensonwood, based in Walpole, New Hampshire , works with architects, homeowners, and other professionals to deliver bespoke buildings using its standardized assemblies. It can engi- neer entirely new assemblies, panels, and components, but the best perfor- mance results are from employing what the company has learned and engi- neered over multiple installations. If the architects who work with Bensonwood can learn its "rules," or standardized kit of parts and dimensioning, they can benefit from 45 years of building science research (see our cover story on page 26 for an example). This is the way it works in Sweden, Tedd points out, and other European countries. "In Sweden, architects are de- signing spaces and buildings—they don't worry about envelopes and assemblies, because they can rely on companies to deliver those. In the same way, archi- tects here have gotten comfortable with window systems, cabinets, and doors. The challenge is for our architects to let go of trying to control everything. We're totally invested in making really good envelopes, and iterating and perfecting them. The question is, 'can we get ar- chitects to leave them alone?' It's a good industry conversation to have." With his other company, the six-year-old Unity Homes, Tedd has answered the question himself—by designing and offering his own set of houses, engineered to the high- performance standards championed by Bensonwood. Its goal isn't to preempt what architects do, but to offer a more affordable, predictable, and quicker alternative to full custom design and construction. "I love the high-end custom projects, but not every client can be a patron," he points out. Photo: Chris Cooper Photo: Halkin Mason Right: Bensonwood built Lake|Flato Architects' latest Porch House project, in collaboration with Ingrained Woodworking. Above: Bensonwood has a history of building forward-thinking prototypes, including KieranTimberlake's award-winning prefab Loblolly House on Maryland's Eastern Shore. 19 VOL. 6, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM

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