Filibertus. An ad-hoc building system

Francesc Pla

For some time now, we’ve been helping master carpenter Oriol Casso with a line of incredible wooden houses. Oriol has developed a brilliant building technique and has built some houses, and even a block of teaching rooms, all on his own.

One day, he asked us to help him improve the product and we jumped at the chance. Now we’ve just about convinced a family from Les Planes to build our first construction together. He contributes his building technique and we bring our architectural know-how. Llorenç Ramos of TDI Enginyers has also joined in the adventure, doing the engineering work and promising, above all, to make them sustainable. We’re also working with the great ceramicist Toni Cumella to propose, as we did for the Thyssen in Sant Feliu, a roof finished in enamelled tiles. This would also expand the finishes and functions available, creating a product that can be adapted to fit any budget.

The wooden house is affordable. It starts at €800/m² and, depending on the finishes (kitchen, bathrooms, fixed furniture and sustainable resources) it can cost up to €1,200/m². The first prototypes built (60 m²) were executed in eleven days. Everything can be pre-cut in the factory and the assembly process on site is extremely fast. Obviously, it is difficult to predict how much work will have to go into preparing the land for the house but the structure sits on limited footings, as if it were floating, making the bulk of the work much easier.

Our goal is to continue working on the Les Planes prototype. In just a few days, we’ll have an accurate quote for this specific example. If it goes well, party time. If not, we’ll have learned a lot to pitch it elsewhere and transform the world.

Everything can be improved, but my imagination makes me think that we can build different wooden houses, each very different and very beautiful. Consider how simple the examples Oriol has already built are. They’re based on a barrel-vault roof and an arched building system first used in the 16th century. Gorgeous. The Les Planes house, however, has two floors and it won’t take long before we’re proposing houses with different styles of vaults, like the Cordoba mosque or La Ricarda by Bonet Castellana, which would be incredible inside.

Everything is yet to be seen, but it’s not coming from nowhere. We’re excited here because we feel like we’ve got a bomb on our hands.