Innovative German building company, Streif, recently appeared on BBC 2 series “Building Dream Homes”, where their company worked with architects Paul Robinson and Laurence Bowen to build a beautiful home most people only dream of living in.
The build took place in a small rural village in Dorset, in the South West, where its sleek and ultra-modern design caused great controversy with other local residents and the local council. Homeowner, Marcus, had saved up to knock down his existing bungalow and replace it with his family’s ideal home, complete with the stunning views of the Southern countryside. When planning permission was granted, the house took only a matter of months from demolition to full completion.
This was made possible by Streif’s fantastic German precision engineering, allowing for the entire frame of the building to be made in their factory in Eiffel, over five hundred miles away from the building site in Dorset. This frame is then shipped, along with a team of trained professionals to come and assemble the building’s frame in as little as five days. This “flat pack house” system is pioneering technology, designed for incredibly efficient builds, and many consider this process to be the bright future of construction.
The show visited Streif’s German factory to see the timber frame being built, taking only days to prepare the entire house, exact to the architects’ drawings, even down to details such as holes for electricity sockets, and even a pre-installed cat flap. These frames are built with such exact measurements that even faults by a matter of millimeters can have huge repercussions when assembling the frame on site. The speed and competence of the Streif engineers knocks down the price of these ambitious builds significantly, making modern and contemporary architecture far more accessible.
Another great benefit of working in this way is that there are no complications made by the weather when building the structural support, which can often be temperamental and cause huge issues with construction, especially in England. The entire frame is built inside in the factory, providing a waterproof shell to be assembled on site. The only issue that arose with this build was heavy winds and damp conditions slowing down both the delivery of the frames and the assembly. The frames were lifted in by cranes and put in place with only two millimeters’ leeway to ensure the house fit together perfectly.
While this style of production line built architecture has been criticised as “kit houses”, this is a common misconception. We saw this house from design through to construction, and architects Paul and Laurence used this process as a tool for architectural experimentation, and as a platform to ensure precision and perfection in their design.
After set backs with the weather, this particular build still took only six days to construct the entire frame, seeing as there were no set backs with their measurements and no faults in construction. This millimeter precision really was, as said on the show, “a master class in German efficiency and engineering”.