Block House ADU

A modular system to create customized ADUs that are affordable, sustainable, and can go anywhere.

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The Block House is a modular system to create custom accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that can fit on virtually any site. It offers unlimited options on the size, arrangement, and style of your ADU - all using the same four modules.

Block House modules are based on the forms of traditional American Homes like gabled roofs and chimneys, but with a clean, contemporary aesthetic and using modern and sustainable materials and systems. Every aspect of the Block House system has been meticulously considered, from the materials it’s made with to the sustainable systems it uses. It maximizes interior space with an open floor plan and wall-to-wall built-in storage.

The design's signature element is a tall central core that serves as a solar chimney and light well, creating a dynamic and unique form that brings light and passive ventilation into the home’s interior spaces. It also contains a rainwater harvesting system that collects rainwater runoff from the roof for reuse. Modules can be rotated in any direction so that their sloped roof and solar panels always face south for maximum sun exposure.

Block Houses are designed to be affordable through their simple but elegant design. They are constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT), which has a much higher material cost than conventional timber framing, but is delivered as prefabricated panels on site that are constructed quickly and easily — significantly reducing labor costs. Low-flow fixtures, passive ventilation, and ample daylighting all contribute to reduced power and water consumption and costs. Block House modules are designed according to Universal Design principles, providing ample maneuvering space throughout all spaces. The bathroom features large clearances and a walk-in shower. The front porch and rear deck have options to add an ADA-compliant ramp, which is integrated into the roof pergola and metal mesh structures.

Location
Ready to activate backyards anywhere

Categories

Architecture, Planning

Year

2023

Four modules, limitless possibilities.

Block House offers unlimited options on the size, arrangement, and style of your ADU - all using the same four modules. It can fit on any site, and allows for future expansion as families grow and needs change.

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1 Bed / 1 Bath / 500 s.f.

This sample configuration shows a one bedroom ADU in a compact layout with natural wood siding and corrogated metal siding around the core, an ADA-accessible ramp at the entrance, and solar panels.

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1 Bed / 1 Bath / 500 s.f.

This sample configuration shows a one bedroom ADU in a compact layout with natural wood siding and board and batten siding around the core, and an ADA-accessible ramp at the entrance.

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2 Bed / 1 Bath / 680 s.f.

This sample configuration shows a two-story, two bedroom ADU in a compact layout with natural wood and corrogated metal siding.

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Designed to be sustainable from the start.

Materials

All materials have been carefully considered to ensure they are healthy and natural, have low embodied carbon, and contain recycled content or can be recycled. The Block House drawing set would include an extensive library of pre-approved materials and fixtures to give residents and contractors options while ensuring the project remains true to its core mission of sustainability.

Form

The angled roofs and the tall solar stack are designed to provide passive ventilation throughout the home, and operable windows at different levels allow for the natural flow of air to keep the space cool during the summer, reducing the need for HVAC. Modules can be rotated in any direction so that their sloped roof and solar panels always face south for maximum sun exposure.

Systems

Each sloped roof features a concealed gutter that captures rainwater and diverts it into a large storage tank inside the central stack for reuse. Solar panels on the roof offset power consumption, and a heat pump system heats and cools the space efficiently, using up to 50% less energy than traditional heating systems. The Block House’s CLT panel wall assembly has multiple layers of insulation and the precise fabrication of mass-timber allows for an air-tight facade.

Bright and airy in every room.

The Block House’s signature element is a tall central core that serves as a solar chimney and light well, creating a dynamic and unique form that brings light and passive ventilation into the home’s interior spaces. It also contains a rainwater harvesting system that collects water runoff from the roof for reuse.

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Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels have low embodied carbon, are pre-fabricated in factories to precise dimensions and structural requirements, and can be assembled on site must faster and more easily than traditional construction methods. It’s a natural, healthy material that is extremely durable, strong, and naturally insect and fire-resistant.

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Live large in a small footprint.

Built-in millwork throughout the Block House provides ample storage, even in a small footprint. A small dining table and desk fold up against the wall to make room when you need it. The bedroom features two built-in side tables and wardrobes, and a murphy bed that folds into the wall to free up the room for other uses.

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Bold and unique design and features.

Interior

High cathedral ceilings

Engineered hardwood floors

Interior walls with wood baseboard and exposed timber upper wall and ceiling

Bathroom with walk-in shower and floor to ceiling tile

Dimmable LED lighting fixtures throughout

Solid core interior doors

Custom kitchen cabinetry and millwork

Extensive built-in storage, shelving, fold-up dining table and bedroom desk, and built-in murphy bed

Premium all electric appliances, including washer and dryer

Exterior

Concrete slab foundation

Cross-laminated timber wall cores - prefabricated and delivered on site

Wall assembly that supports a variety of cladding materials and systems

Standing seam metal roof with concealed gutters for harvesting rainwater for reuse

Roof pergola extensions with metal mesh for privacy

Wood casement windows

Front porch with options for ADA-compliant ramp

Rear deck

Mechanical Systems

High efficiency heat-pump heating and cooling

Instant water heater

Rainwater harvesting, storage, and reuse

Option to add solar panels to the roof for supplemental electricity generation

2 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Compact Arrangement

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1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Compact Arrangement

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1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Linear Arrangement

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