Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



The continuing dialogue concerning the development of building systems for housing has produced few results. The economic, political, and technical obstacles encountered are sufficiently prohibitive to discourage new entries in the field. There does exist however an enormous amount of building products that potentially could be assembled to form a building system. Utilizing existing products in this manner could circumvent many problems faced in the development of a system composed of completely custom components. This study addresses itself to determining the feasibility of developing a building system for low cost single family houses using commercially available building products. Such an approach assumes that the range of building components represents a form of an "open building system." To determine if this is the case, various technical and economic factors are considered. The evaluation of these factors produces two main conclusions. First, it is possible to create such a system, but component choices are severely limited by numerous technical problems such as dimensional coordination and interfacing. Secondly, while physical development is feasible, the price structure of such a system coupled with the market conditions for housing in lower price ranges makes it economically unfeasible. These two resultant findings lead to the final conclusion that because such a system is economically unfeasible, it renders development of the system to the realm of the hypothetical. This effectively proclaims such a system unfeasible.



Document Type


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Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)


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Third Committee Member

Robert Carl Cohlmeyer

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Architecture Commons