10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
Lightweight, affordable, and flexible, plywood has all the warmth of wood, while being perfect for prefab and modular construction.

Unlike wood, which expands and contracts with humidity and weather variations, plywood is predominately machine-made and is not as susceptible to distortion. 

Being lighter and thinner than regular wood, plywood also has more flexibility and moldability than standard wood blocks and slabs.

Take a look at these 10 projects that incorporate this multifunctional material in various ways.

Plywood-Clad Vacation Prefab in New Zealand 

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 1 of 11 - A compact prefab vacation home in the seaside community of Onemana Beach in New Zealand is clad in plywood and vertical timber battens finished in Resene’s Lumbersider paint in Foam.

A compact prefab vacation home in the seaside community of Onemana Beach in New Zealand is clad in plywood and vertical timber battens finished in Resene’s Lumbersider paint in Foam.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 2 of 11 - One of the first homes built in Tuxedo Park, New York, was this "Techbuilt House" designed by prefab pioneer Carl Koch, which features interior finishings made with plywood.

One of the first homes built in Tuxedo Park, New York, was this "Techbuilt House" designed by prefab pioneer Carl Koch, which features interior finishings made with plywood.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 3 of 11 - A lightweight frame enclosed with taut fabric and sheets of Joubert Okoume marine plywood are used for this 44-square-foot hybrid, prefab-trailer house.

A lightweight frame enclosed with taut fabric and sheets of Joubert Okoume marine plywood are used for this 44-square-foot hybrid, prefab-trailer house.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 4 of 11 - Architect William Massie designed this hybrid prefab home for a vintage furniture dealer in upstate New York. It has a curtain wall that's constructed with steel supports and sandwiched layers of birch plywood and amber acrylic.

Architect William Massie designed this hybrid prefab home for a vintage furniture dealer in upstate New York. It has a curtain wall that's constructed with steel supports and sandwiched layers of birch plywood and amber acrylic.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 5 of 11 - Three interlocking materials—a self-heated concrete floor, double-glazed windows that let the outdoors in while keeping out the cold, and wooden panels manufactured in a Danish factory—are used to created this prefab home in Copenhagen with interior birch plywood walls that give the space a bright, open feel. 

Three interlocking materials—a self-heated concrete floor, double-glazed windows that let the outdoors in while keeping out the cold, and wooden panels manufactured in a Danish factory—are used to created this prefab home in Copenhagen with interior birch plywood walls that give the space a bright, open feel. 

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 6 of 11 - This case study-like home in New Zealand has a frame of timber that's clad in alternating modules of stained plywood and colorful, semitransparent polycarbonate.

This case study-like home in New Zealand has a frame of timber that's clad in alternating modules of stained plywood and colorful, semitransparent polycarbonate.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 7 of 11 - Australian firm Archiblox designed the world's first carbon-positive prefab with interiors filled with sustainably sourced plywood with formaldehyde- and VOC-free finishes.

Australian firm Archiblox designed the world's first carbon-positive prefab with interiors filled with sustainably sourced plywood with formaldehyde- and VOC-free finishes.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 8 of 11 - Futuristic in materials and finish but traditional in shape, this little prefab vacation retreat on the western coast of Scotland has a bold facade that's made with zinc and plywood.

Futuristic in materials and finish but traditional in shape, this little prefab vacation retreat on the western coast of Scotland has a bold facade that's made with zinc and plywood.


10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 9 of 11 - The interior of Midden Studio in Scotland is lined with plywood.

The interior of Midden Studio in Scotland is lined with plywood.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 10 of 11 - Designed by Stockholm firm Waldemarson Berglund Arkitekter, Ateljé 25 is a modular artist's studio that's shaped like a Monopoly house. It has simple plywood interiors and large skylights.

Designed by Stockholm firm Waldemarson Berglund Arkitekter, Ateljé 25 is a modular artist's studio that's shaped like a Monopoly house. It has simple plywood interiors and large skylights.

10 Prefabricated or Modular Structures That Use Plywood in Creative Ways - Photo 11 of 11 - Students from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, designed these cabins to be placed at campgrounds throughout the state. Named "The Wedge," this sloped-roof, wooden structure with plywood interior walls was built in just four days.

Students from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, designed these cabins to be placed at campgrounds throughout the state. Named "The Wedge," this sloped-roof, wooden structure with plywood interior walls was built in just four days.

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