Thursday, 6 December 2012

Off the shelf construction?

     The Eames House, for one, prides itself on the basis that it was completely constructed from so called "off the shelf" parts that any individual could order from a catalog. However, as detailed in The Details of Modern Architecture vol.2, Edward R Ford states that this proclamation is indeed false. Only some of the components are available in predetermined sizes such as steel windows and bar joists and even then, sizing is limited. The rolled steel sections (i.e. wide flanges, channels, etc.) do come in standard cross-sectional shapes, but their lengths are not standardized and must be custom-made for each individual condition.

     In fact, only the windows are joists were standardized components in the Eames house. The truss was custom-made, as were the columns, wide-flange beams, and other steel components had to be cut to specific lengths, punched with holes, and fitted with clips to make connections; and although appearing similar, no two were alike. The idea that the original Eames House came in a prefabricated building kit that was then disassembled and rebuilt as a new structure was and still continues to be a common misconception.

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