Cross-laminated panels using dowels could enable prefab housing to be designed, built on British Columbia's Haida Gwaii, finds UBC architecture student

LOS ANGELES , October 18, 2011 () – Housing can be designed for, and built on, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, using cross-laminated timber built with dowels instead of glue to make the panels in any size, according to a University of British Columbia (UBC) architecture student, The Queen Charlotte Observer reported Oct. 17.

UBC graduate student Erica Mitchell plans to present her project, including models, at an open house in Old Massett on the island on Nov. 2. According to the newspaper, Mitchell is completing her Masters of Architecture thesis on housing in the village.

The solid wood panels, 35 cm thick (13.7 inches) can be manufactured to any size using the islands' softwoods, reported The Queen Charlotte Observer.

Mitchell said costs could run C$17 per cubic ft for the structure and wall systems, based on costs from other areas. A house would take two to four days to lock-up using the prefabricated system of 30 x 50 panels with windows, she added.

The islands off the coast of central British Columbia are wet and temperate. Mitchell said the all-wood walls can contribute to comfort because they absorb moisture from the air.

Mitchell's design uses passive ventilation through an upper ridge of vents to address the ventilation and moisture problems common on reserve housing in the province.

Cross-laminated timber panels manufactured in Europe are used in apartment buildings, light industrial and other buildings in place of concrete, masonry and steel. Although Mitchell acknowledged it was "a little bit dreamy," to imagine the panels could be made on Haida Gwaii, she also thought it was "viable", the newspaper noted.

The primary source of this article is The Queen Charlotte Observer, Queen Charlotte, British Columbia, on Oct. 17, 2011.

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