The Loblolly House served as a testing ground for adapting industrial practices to architectural production. This process places significant emphasis on the quality of the joints between materials, components, and systems. As Jean Labatut stated, “It is the precise study and good execution of details which confirm architectural greatness.”[1] In the Loblolly House, the universal joint connecting the tectonic elements serves as a physical realization of the primary objectives of the project. “The source of creativity within the Loblolly scaffold is the simple T-groove, which has been exploited for as many purposes as possible.”[2] This groove is a standard inclusion in the extruded profile used in the project and is integrated into each of the profile’s four sides. Like Semper’s knot, this connection is simple and easy to fabricate, yet it still has the ability to adapt to different situations and needs. And while welding or bolting requires an experienced and skilled team, this system requires only a wrench to fasten together the components.

IAT -loblolly - aluminum connector - 15.3.3

Image | © Chad Schwartz

[1] Jean Labatut as cited in Marco Frascari, “The Tell-the-Tale Detail,” in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory 1965-1995, ed. Kate Nesbitt (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 501.

[2] Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake, Loblolly House: Elements of a New Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), 67.