flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default

CNC-Cut Modular Solar Building: Technologically Tip-Toeing into Tomorrow

February 24, 2020

This building is designed with the sun—rather than with dimensional lumber—in mind.

Instead of doing what we've always done in home design and construction, this team flips the process on its head.

From the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia:

"The Pavilion is actually the prototype of a multi-scale construction system. A facade composed of modular components, like solar bricks, that respond to photovoltaic gaining, solar protection, insulation, ventilation and lighting.

The same parametric logic adapts façade geometries to the specific environmental requirements for each point of the building. It is a single component that integrates all levels of intelligence that the building needs."

Digital design allows the designer to mathematically adapt the building so that every point of the building is totally adapted to its exterior environment. during summer, the sun never enters this building, while doing the complete opposite in winter.

Old manufacturing methods cannot accommodate these changes in geometry because old methods rely on consistent building materials. All 2x6s are the same size.

CNC allows designers to optimize for the finished product, not the raw materials.

Digital fabrication means a fast construction process. After three weeks of preconstruction and two weeks of construction, they have a house. All of the parts are prepared in design software and sent to the CNC machine. The machine cuts the parts and the parts are assembled together on-site like a giant puzzle.

Digital production is opening the process of digital fabrication. Like a printer, you send a file to a machine and it spits out your parts. Similar to the way we have copy shops to photocopy fliers, we will soon have fabrication shops, 'printing' parts for prefabricated houses.

To be clear, this video is not about the best new house design. It would be a difficult house to paint or to detail the air barrier on. This process is about rethinking design, fabrication, and assembly of buildings, including houses.

Integrating the car, and it's battery pack, to the house means stored energy, lower GHG emission, and crazier-looking neighborhoods.


  • Architects: Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC-iaac.net) / Arch. Rodrigo Rubio and Arch. Miguel Guerrero
  • Wood Engineering: Fupicsa (MetsäWood) www.metsawood.com
  • Photovoltaic Engineering: TFM (Comsa) https://www.tfm.es/ES/index.php

catfish1 -