Anomura Housing Society has partnered with Clemson University, Camosun Innovates and a team of local architects and engineers to bring a newly patented building technology called the Sim[PLY] system to Canada. The system designers met with the Anomura team to fabricate and assemble a demonstration model of this newly patented building technology. We invite you to visit Camosun Innovates to take a look at this innovative approach to building affordable housing.
‘DIY’ takes on new meaning with the Sim[PLY] building solution. Developed by faculty and students at Clemson University in South Carolina, Sim[PLY] responds to our changing economy, climate, and ideas about housing.Sim[PLY] combines the best aspects of pre-fab with the best of onsite construction. The pre-designed and fabricated components are cut from plywood using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, flat-packed and shipped to the build site, where housing can be assembled by largely unskilled labour using easy-to-follow pictographic instructions – allowing the average home owner, family and friends to safely participate in the assembly of their own home. “It’s an interesting way to build, because the carpentry is already built into the prefabricated pieces,” says Kristina Leach, vice president of Anomura Housing Society. “All of that expertise is preloaded into the geometry of the pieces, so we all can experience the joy and sense of mastery you get from building, while simultaneously reducing labor costs."
“While the Sim[PLY] system embraces technology, it also promotes inclusion. It builds capacity in the community and supports technical education,” says Dan Harding, a designer of the system and associate architecture professor at Clemson. It’s an approach to home building that fits the mission of Camosun Innovates: “Clemson University designed this amazing, sustainable, affordable, and durable ‘DIY’ technology for housing,” says Jamie VanDenbossche, Associate Director of Camosun Innovates and Anomura board member, “And we have the advanced manufacturing capabilities at Camosun Innovates to bring those designs to life.”
Unlike traditional framing systems, which generally require onsite cutting and other operations that require expertise in construction, Sim[PLY] streamlines assembly to the point that no advanced construction knowledge is needed: “The houses can be produced cost effectively and then assembled over the course of a few days using common household tools,” explains VanDenbossche.
“The final structures are durable and also modular so they can be moved to new locations and reconfigured to add rooms according to the needs of families.”
The major innovations the system introduces are an interlocking system of plywood pieces and the use of steel zip ties in lieu of nails. “This makes the system just as easy to disassemble, modify and reuse as it is to assemble in the first place,” says assistant professor Dustin Albright, a key member of the Sim[PLY] faculty team at Clemson, “and it virtually eliminates construction waste going to landfill.”
Time lapse video of 2 day build: https://youtu.be/CaKHslxl24k
Anomura is dedicated to the creation of accessible housing solutions for all members of our community. Like other major cities in Canada, Greater Victoria is grappling with the high cost of land and construction, particularly as these forces push developers to build an increasing volume of luxury housing. Meanwhile, many people in the workforce find it difficult to secure affordable, safe housing.
Anomura works with landholders, both private and public, who have underutilized land, and then brings this movable, high-quality affordable housing solution to these building sites.“The Sim[PLY] technology opens up a whole realm of new possibilities for expanding access to small, desirable building sites,” says Kristina Leach, vice president of Anomura. The Sim[PLY] system caught Anomura’s eye more than 18 months ago at an architecture conference where the Clemson professors were presenting. Anomura has been in contact ever since and now has an agreement with Clemson to move quickly toward using Sim[PLY] to fabricate housing that meets our Canadian housing needs and building specifications.
Applications and markets
Infill housing - laneway and backyard suites: Municipalities across BC are updating their zoning regulations to increase urban density. School Districts needing affordable housing for teachers are considering Sim[PLY] construction on peripheral lands on school properties.
Quick rebuild solutions for housing destroyed by wildfires and floods.
“No-trace” buildings on environmentally sensitive sites, such as the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Culturally responsive housing that meets the needs of Indigenous communities.
To see the demonstration contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org