Clemson architect students designing innovative sustainable housing

Clemson, S.C. (WSPA) – Clemson University School of Architecture is helping pave the way for the future of home building.
The students and faculty have been designing a puzzle-like, DIY construction system. It would make building sustainable and affordable structures quicker and quieter with fewer tools.
The “SimPly” method only uses pre-cut plywood and metal zip ties, instead of nails.
“We can go into a site and have a very light impact on it, stay there for a short period of time and get away. It is just changing the paradime of building and hopefully one that will let us see other opportunities come for other folks,” said Dan Harding, Clemson School of Architecture Associate Professor. “We are designing it to go out, not just stay in and that has been layered through from the beginning.”
The team can build a variety of products, from entire homes to the furniture inside them. The wood is carved in a factory, then marked for instructions for someone to build by themselves or with help within days.
“So not just paint or do other tasks like clean up a job site, but actually frame and construct the house themselves,” Harding added. “It is more of a system than just designing a shape.”
The system has been presented in multiple countries. The school has seen interest from others to use their techniques to build transitional homes for homeless veterans, as community kitchens and in disaster areas, where quickly constructed shelters are needed.
School of Architecture Assistant Professor Dustin Albright said, “It is easy to assemble but it is also easy to disassemble, you just simply snip the zip ties, take it apart and you’re ready to go. That’s another game changer.”
Their design is also helping their students learn how to make safe, sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly structures.
There is still work to be done on “SimPly”. One day soon they hope the system can be put on a public market, to help evolve communities in need.
“Can we build it in high winds? How can we build it cheaper? All of these different applications that are being presented, coming from the excitement around the project,” Harding explained.
There are already “SimPly” structures standing in Clemson and at the Crop Stop Community Kitchen in Greenville. The building helps crop owners better process harvests for farm-to-table foods.

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