In the summer of 2014, the Brooklyn-based architect James C. Williams built a six-bedroom, 18-bathroom house on a hillside in Brooklyn.
His goal: create a house of wood.
Williams has built more than a dozen homes and a large furniture and furniture accessories store in New York City since the mid-2000s, mostly in residential areas.
But the Brooklyn architect was not sure how to proceed with his plan, which he called “a very different kind of home,” because it required an enormous amount of energy and space.
“It’s really hard to put a lot of things on a roof that you don’t want to touch, and you don,t want to have to be very careful that you’re not going to put furniture in the middle of the roof,” he says.
And that was what prompted Williams to develop a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to build a house.
Wood slabs, or “hobbits,” were originally made from the wood of a tree trunk.
Wood was cut from trees and the wood was stored in a special kiln, where it was heated to between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius, depending on the size of the tree trunk and its age.
In order to keep the temperature stable and keep the wood from cracking, the lumber was kept in a sealed vault at a temperature of between 70 and 80°C.
After the timber was harvested, the wood and its casing were shipped to a kiln where the wood’s natural oils and chemicals were extracted.
The finished product was then treated with a special type of wood preservative that was added to help the wood retain its strength and durability, making it stronger than other wood.
But Wood Slabs, according to Williams, were not something that he thought he would be able to build.
“The thing that we realized is that wood is a really beautiful and a very good source of energy,” he tells The Atlantic.
“So if you want to get into the energy space, you want something that can support a lot more energy than what you would get out of wood.”
The design of a wooden house Williams and his team developed was based on a wood slab, which is a type of timber that has been cut from a tree, and then has been chemically treated to remove the wood preservatives.
(A picture of a wood slab in this image released by James C Williams, Inc.)
Williams decided to try a more energy efficient way to make his house.
He took the wood in bulk and turned it into a slabs that he stacked on top of each other and built a house from that structure.
He says that when you look at a wood structure, you can see it’s not just the structure but also the building blocks.
“There’s a whole range of things that go into making that structure and that it’s composed of, you know, the trees and all the wood,” he explains.
The idea is to get rid of all of the different wood components that you can get from a house, instead of just putting all of that wood together in one structure.
“I think we’re able to do this without sacrificing too much of the structure,” he adds.
The house can be easily moved around, which helps it remain stable, as the wood doesn’t have to sit on the same spot.
And because the house doesn’t need to be large, it can be built in a variety of sizes and shapes.
“We built the house from a very simple idea: put a couple of big wooden hobbits in there, and it’s pretty simple,” Williams says.
The Hobbits, like all the rest of the wood, are built with natural materials.
They are also made of wood that has not been treated with chemical preservatives, which allows them to retain its structure and to withstand harsh weather conditions.
The slabs were initially only intended for use in the winter, but Williams says he has been experimenting with them in the summertime.
“A lot of times I’ve been experimenting in the summers and we’ve been able to get them to be stable enough in the hot summers, so we’ve just been able, again, to build the structure out of that,” he explained.
The wood slates also make the house feel more like a home, even though it’s only a couple hundred square feet.
“This is really a very different sort of home, because it’s going to take you through a lot different parts of your house,” Williams adds.
“You know, in the real world, when you have a house that you’ve lived in for a long time, it’s really quite normal to want to change your living space.
And we don’t have that luxury with Hobbits.”
And because wood can’t be sold, it has to be collected and sold, so it’s the kind of thing that would help to reduce the amount of land needed to build larger houses.