Sold in standard 4 foot wide sheets since 1928, plywood has been a staple of conventional construction for nearly a century. Dimensionally strong, easily cut, lightweight and capable of creating an effective barrier, plywood and other engineered panels like OSB, particle board, and MDF is ubiquitous, particularly for their use as sheathing material in balloon and timber frame construction systems. Boats, airplanes and even automobile frames have historically been built out of plywood, predating (or replacing) steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. As a simple material capable of being manipulated and shaped in a wide variety of ways, sheet ply was also favored in furniture and architectural designs by modernists including Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, and Marcel Breuer.
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MawsonKerr Architects' Low Rise High Density has been selected as the winner of the RIBA Journal Sterling OSB Habitat Award. The house proposal, in the Byker area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, uses prefabrication and CNC techniques to confront issues of substance abuse and addiction.