Traditional Echoes At The Cutting Edge
The design of the “FRP House” by Beijing-based Atelier FCJZ, was a research and development process conducted in collaboration with Nanjing University of Technology, Civil Engineering Institute. During seven years of design and development (2003-2010), they created a system of prefabricated FRP poles with plug-in connections as the main support system. Rigorous testing of the material’s mechanical properties was conducted, including its compressive strength and tensile strength, finding that it has similar properties to steel, with greater tensile strength at 1/5 the mass.
Rather than taking advantage of the ability to mold FRP into exotic shapes, the project focuses on using an advanced composite material to re-create the lightness and re-usability of traditional Chinese wooden architecture. The two-story above ground, 70 m2, single family residence in Nanjing is largely prefabricated. The use of plug-in joints rather than on-site welding speeds the construction process. A two-story mockup was built to test the structural properties of the design.
It is an example of sustainable construction, too, in that the light weight of the materials and low-heat manufacturing process both reduce environmental impacts vs. concrete and steel.
Images courtesy of Atelier FCJZ, via Designboom.com