Design for a Modular House Proposes a Synergy Between Prefabrication and Carpentry

Cortesía de abarca+palma

Seeking to connect the traditions of carpentry and the prefabrication industry, Chilean practice abarca+palma have developed a modular house proposal made up of 10 different types of module, capable of forming 5 different house layouts.

The house is constructed in pine wood—using composite beams and pillars—with prefabricated SIP panels.


Description from the Architects. This is a system of prefabricated modular units of space within a modular structure constructed on site. The wooden structure is built in situ by carpenters prior to the arrival of the prefabricated panels that are mounted inside.

Cortesía de abarca+palma

In this mixed system, carpentry traditions and industry are linked directly. We believe that the viability of the hand labor of carpentry also depends on it being merged with industry, thus avoiding complete dependence on prefabricated components that threaten to make craft trades obsolete.

Cortesía de abarca+palma

The structure is designed to be built in pine wood using composite beams and pillars. The prefabricated SIP panels will be of variable thickness, depending on the climatic conditions of the country the project is built in.

Climatic variable

The 10 spatial modules correspond to living spaces with a specific use which can be combined according to the requirements of each inhabitant. These modules include bedrooms, living rooms, terraces, bathrooms, and kitchens, among others. The modules also vary in their finishes using natural wood, wood painted in carboline oil, corrugated zinc, smooth zinc, and other materials.


This allows for a greater range of alternatives to satisfy the diverse requirements of the users.

In terms of climate, the house is characterized by a large roof that protects the entire constructed area with eaves over 1 meter in length. This ensures protection from the rain and the sun, giving greater durability to the exterior of the dwelling and considerably decreasing its maintenance.

D. Image Cortesía de abarca+palma

This cover is separated from the modules to reduce the transfer of heat from the sun into the modules, and also to improve air circulation. In addition, the width of the house and the sequence of windows allow an effective cross ventilation of all the enclosures.


Architecs: abarca+palma
Team: Francisco Abarca, Camilo Palma
Collaborators: Héctor Campos, Nicolás Acosta
Year: 2014
Materiality: Wooden Structure and Prefabricated SIP Panels

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Cite: Franco, José Tomás. "Design for a Modular House Proposes a Synergy Between Prefabrication and Carpentry" [Casa Modular: una colaboración entre la prefabricación y la carpintería] 31 Aug 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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