Built for longevity, designed for change

Some elements of a home should last for centuries—while others may require more frequent change. In traditionally-built homes, short and long-lived materials are intertwined, making preservation difficult or impossible over time.

Bensonwood disentangles these systems, creating an airtight, insulated, structural shell, that is separate from the more frequently updated parts of the home. Extensive remodeling of interior spaces can be performed without disturbing the home’s most durable and longest-lived elements.

building skin
40-100 YRS
100-300 YRS
100-300 YRS
interior space
10-30 YRS
5-10 YRS
A layered approach to building

Click on the layers of the building below to learn more about the role it plays in making the home durable, adaptable, and comfortable.

1. Siding
This weather-resistant barrier is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, keeping water away from the home’s structural shell.
2. Vent and drainage cavity
this small gap allows the siding to dry faster after weather, prolonging the life of the siding, and creating a space for moisture moving through the walls to escape.
3. Exterior Sheathing
Bensonwood uses high-quality Zip sheathing and tape to create the external air and water barrier.
30-100 Years
This system includes the siding, a vent and drainage cavity, and exterior sheathing.
thermal layer
Structural/ Thermal
1. Exterior Sheathing
An air and water barrier is also part of the air-tight structural shell, providing additional rigidity to the beams and I-Joists that support the structure.
2. Framing
Timbers and I-Joists comprise the main structural support within the thermal shell.
3. Dense-pack cellulose insulation
Made from eco-friendly bio-based material, this insulation is packed into the structural shell while it is horizontal on the factory floor. Insulation is measured twice to ensure even coverage that won’t settle or sink over time.
4. OSB interior sheathing
Creates the interior air and vapor control layer, preventing any moisture from moving from the interior of the home into the wall. SIGA Rissan tape tightly seals any gaps between sheets of OSB.
Structural/ Thermal
300+ Years
The structural/thermal shell is the longest living component of the OpenBuilt system. With proper upkeep, it is designed and built to last for hundreds of years.
service layer
1. Separate Layer
The service layer allows updates to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems and interior finishes, without penetrating or damaging the structural/thermal shell.
2. Mechanical, Electric, and Plumbing
By placing these outside the thermal shell, we eliminate potential penetration points where moisture can enter the insulated structure. Electrical outlets are a prime offender in traditionally built homes, as they are difficult to fully seal off.
3. Pre-Routed Wiring Chases
Wiring chases are routed in the factory, saving time for subcontractors, and standardizing placement.
4. Blocking for added support
Blocking is added during factory construction, where shelves or heavy cabinetry will be hung. This gives additional support to interior fixtures, without penetrating the structural shell.
50-100 Years
The service layer allows updates to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems and interior finishes, without penetrating or damaging the structural/thermal shell.
interior elements
1. Non-Load Bearing
Most interior walls are non-load bearing, so they can be moved to accommodate the needs of current occupants.
2. Easy to update
Interior finishes can be easily updated without affecting the structural shell.
3 Years
This layer includes interior walls and finishes, and is designed to be changed over time.
The OpenBuilt system delivers a more comfortable, durable, and adaptable home.
door draft
Air tight
Eliminates drafts, and maintains consistent temperatures, even near doors and windows.
window and thermostat
Consistent comfort
Remains warm or cool during power outages, even for extended periods and in extreme weather conditions.
Lower cost
Minimizes heating, cooling, and electricity operating costs.
book and mug
Quiet inside
Remains quiet inside, even when it’s loud outside.
pest control
Critter resistant
Nearly impossible for critter infestations.
Keeps pollutants out
Keeps dust and pollutants outside.
indoor air quality
Excellent indoor air quality
Allows only clean, filtered air into the living space, even when extreme pollution is present outside (like smoke from a wildfire).
Easily renovated
Makes future interior renovations easier, since interior walls are separate from the timber super-structure and are not load bearing.
electric outlet
Easily updated
Allows for easier repairs and updates to shorter-lifespan components like siding, sheetrock, wiring, and plumbing, with less waste and damage to the overall structure.