written by:
November 29, 2011
Originally published in Prefab Perfected

Industrial designer Dror Benshetrit’s new building system, QuaDror, can be applied to make just about anything from architecture to table bases.

QuaDror designed by Dror Benshetrit

On the domestic scale, QuaDror not only provides the structural integrity of the home, but adds quite a bit of visual interest to the interior.

1 / 11
QuaDror designed by Dror Benshetrit
Wee Approve

Inflate the scale of the support trestles, add floors and ceilings, and you have the core of the QuaDror prefab house. The QD 01-06 dwellings, created in partnership with Minnesota prefab outfit weeHouse, range from 900 to 3,000 square feet—“single and double story, and two versions that are elevated off the ground, which is beneficial for certain climates,” Benshetrit says. As with the trestles, the QD interlocking frame modules, constructed from eight beams, are shipped flat and set up onsite. “The whole house shouldn’t take more than a few days to assemble,” the designer says. “It’s really and truly a kit—a lucid system that results in a product you park on your land.” QD 01-06 houses will be available this spring.

2 / 11
interchangeable disaster-relief house frame
Sweet Relief

The QuaDror disaster-relief house frame reduces the system’s interlocking module to four so-called universal joints and eight corner pieces (for stiffening and stability) that are attached to a locally sourced material (even bamboo) to form eight support beams. The structure can then be skinned in anything that’s available. “In one 40-foot container we can ship 1,300 kits—that’s 1,300 dwellings,” says Benshetrit. Best of all: The house needn’t be temporary. “It gives people something that can be moved, re-skinned, and improved—a real home.”

3 / 11
interchangeable disaster-relief house frame

Shipping the goods necessary for putting up QuaDror disaster relief shelters is incredibly easy, especially since the L-brackets can be combined with local materials to form the structures' frames.

4 / 11
geometrical compact desks
Compact Desk

“Designers always like the idea of sawhorses for desks,” Benshetrit says. “They’re cheap and easy to move, multiply, and put away.” The QuaDror version has a slightly smaller footprint than a standard sawhorse, which means more lateral leg room, “and if you orient the V side of the triangle toward where you’re sitting, it’s even roomier.” Additionally, “it folds flat, doesn’t require assembly, and works with any desktop.” Studio Dror plans to self-market the desk, first on the Web, then through selected stores, and to hit different price points depending on the quality of the wood. “I like the Johnnie Walker approach—birch is Red Label, mahogany is Blue.”

5 / 11
geometrical compact desks

Unlike your typical sawhorse desk, which often comprises a pair of struts and a board as the desktop, the QuaDror system can support a much sleeker aesthetic.

6 / 11
geometric table lamps
Shine a Light

Benshetrit’s table lamp, for the lighting and furniture company .MGX by Materialise uses QuaDror’s infinitely scalable geometry to create a honeycomb of 1,200 modules that fits over a metal base holding a 40-watt halogen bulb. The lamp, which arrives flat and expands, accordion-like, when lifted, is manufactured via selective laser sintering (SLS), a 3-D printing process that uses a laser to solidify layer upon layer of powdered resin particles. “When you buy the lamp, you get a disc with the file on it, so if it breaks, you can ‘reprint’ it,” Benshetrit says.

7 / 11
Small stack of QuaDror connectors

Close down the accordion-like Honeycomb lamp and you're left with a small stack of QuaDror connectors. Lift it up again and the cube comes back to life.

8 / 11
Blown up QuaDror joints

Essentially the same as the trestle desk, here the QuaDror joints are blown up to a massive scale and used to support a bridge.

9 / 11
Studded chandelier by Dror Benshetrit

In this design, Benshetrit moves the chandelier to the floor and studs it with 6,400 Swarovski crystals. The same geometry is in play, but instead of serving as the object's sheer muscle, it instead is merely the frame.

10 / 11
Detail of chandelier by Dror Benshetrit

The light comes from four incandescent strips affixed to the frame. Only when open do the grids of crystal take their swooping, parabolic form. 

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

11 / 11
QuaDror designed by Dror Benshetrit

On the domestic scale, QuaDror not only provides the structural integrity of the home, but adds quite a bit of visual interest to the interior.

“I feel we have not done justice describing it yet,” says the Israeli-born, New York–based designer Dror Benshetrit, creator of the diabolically brain-twisting QuaDror system—“and I don’t think the press has, either.” No self-respecting member of the Fourth Estate can ignore such a challenge, yet after 20 minutes of listening to Benshetrit explain (and re-explain) what Studio Dror’s literature calls “a unique space truss geometry,” the simple brilliance of the structural building blocks becomes unmissable.

This comes as little surprise, as Benshetrit’s work has always had a formalist panache. The rigorous undulations of his Peacock chair for Cappellini are formed by just three pieces of folded felt, and his dorm-room collection for Target offers a collapsible clock and eminently rearrangeable shelving made from a few strong components.

QuaDror designed by Dror Benshetrit
Wee Approve

Inflate the scale of the support trestles, add floors and ceilings, and you have the core of the QuaDror prefab house. The QD 01-06 dwellings, created in partnership with Minnesota prefab outfit weeHouse, range from 900 to 3,000 square feet—“single and double story, and two versions that are elevated off the ground, which is beneficial for certain climates,” Benshetrit says. As with the trestles, the QD interlocking frame modules, constructed from eight beams, are shipped flat and set up onsite. “The whole house shouldn’t take more than a few days to assemble,” the designer says. “It’s really and truly a kit—a lucid system that results in a product you park on your land.” QD 01-06 houses will be available this spring.

Fundamentally, QuaDror consists of four identical L-shaped pieces, with each edge of each piece cut to the same slight angle—“15 degrees is ideal,” Benshetrit says. The four parts are formed into two squares, which are then set back to back (the lower edges of the 15-degree angles meeting), with one square oriented horizontally, the other vertically. “That gives you four overlapping areas between the two squares along the diagonal,” Benshetrit says, drawing them in his sketch pad, “each of which you connect using glue, bolts, or screws.” Picking up a QuaDror model, he sets it upright on his desk, lets go, and presto! The connection points form a natural hinge, and the flat sandwich falls open to create a freestanding object that is triangular on all four sides.

“It’s very strong and stable,” Benshetrit says. “The triangulations are always opposite—you have a V on one side and an A on the other—so the supports are constantly in tension. It’s always parallel to the ground [the 15-degree angles are self-correcting] so you can stack them, and in terms of compression load, it’s almost as sturdy as a block. And you can use thin L-shaped pieces, which give you a trestle, or thicker ones, so it looks like a solid object.”

Though Benshetrit came up with QuaDror by accident while trying to create two interlocking squares as a frame for a chandelier, he instantly recognized its potential. “We’ve been working on this for four years, coming up with more and more applications, to show the system’s ability to become a lot of different things.” An exciting prefab architecture use of the system is above, and more of the myriad QuaDror manifestations follow in the slideshow.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
scifi
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016
01 1
This Italian villa is serenity incarnate.
May 19, 2016
michael cobb interior
Alternative materials help a house in California’s wine country tread lightly on the land.
May 18, 2016
13266797 1799532953608317 1984666518 n 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 18, 2016
Industrial kitchen built on a budget.
In Austin, Texas, architect Sean Guess forges an inventive industrial kitchen for a cost-conscious couple.
May 18, 2016
great danes dining area
In an up-and-coming area of Copenhagen, a pair of designers and their twin girls inhabit a converted loft, filling it with serious design savvy and a hefty dose of creativity.
May 18, 2016
25687 preview low 1633 2 25687 sc v2com
An 1885 house in Montreal dips a little into its backyard for spare space.
May 17, 2016
modern ecoconscious pavilion walkway roof
A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, emerges as a series of eco-conscious pavilions that rest lightly on the land.
May 17, 2016
Formafantasma's designs for Alcantara's Touching Tales
In a 17-century palazzo, two young design studios explore a very modern material.
May 17, 2016
25104 preview low 567 9 25104 sc v2com
An extended clan, separated by business, gathers for holidays at a forested getaway near Sutton, Quebec.
May 16, 2016
it takes a village exterior
A family matriarch enlisted an architect, an interior designer, a builder, and a landscape architect to help realize her vision for a diminutive, low-key lakeside getaway.
May 16, 2016
starry night light installation
A celestial light installation illuminates the garage door of a recently renovated Toronto house.
May 16, 2016
kiwis big adventure facade
Three designers jump-start their practice with an affordably built abode in New Zealand.
May 16, 2016
Once a horse stable, this Chicago house first got a superficial makeover from Oprah (we wonder whether Stedman likes modern) before architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang was called in for a more substantial renovation and a dazzlingly porous brick screen.
We catch up with the creative couple living in Studio Gang's Brick Weave House.
May 16, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent sabine marcelis rotterdam netherlands clee wei swee dawnlights sabinemarcelis boijmans leeweiswee16
The sleek lighting designs of Sabine Marcelis are capturing the attention of fashion houses and architecture firms alike.
May 15, 2016