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Open Building

Traditional home construction takes place on site where unprotected materials are custom cut and assembled; a risk-inherent process that hasn’t changed much in the past one hundred years. Through timber framing, we learned that by fabricating components in a controlled environment we can eliminate variables and deliver a better product. Once on site, construction follows an intuitive method for assembly and the project is completed in considerably less time with little exposure to risk.

1 Virtual Build


Using a combination of computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) software, a virtual model is created. The model guides the project design and construction allowing for precise control over the material allocation and budget The virtual build process identifies potential issues so they can be solved before construction ever begins. The information is transferred to computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines in our Building Systems plant where the models are checked for accuracy as fabrication begins.

2 Fabricate


Panelized components, timber frames, and millwork are all fabricated in our facilities by our craftsmen using the most advanced technologies. Our fabrication process ensures a level of consistency only achievable within controlled manufacturing environments. The finished components are sealed from weather and bundled in a systematic order for the most effective on site assembly.

3 Assemble


Building components arrive at the prepared site and are rapidly assembled using a crane and a relatively small crew. Construction waste, noise, and site disturbances are minimized through this process. Construction duration is dependent on the size and scale of the operation but is significantly faster than traditional approaches.

A better way to build.


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We build and assemble high-quality structures in less time than any traditional construction method.

OpenBuilt® Technology

Fully adaptable technology for changing needs in building

One of the fundamental objectives of Open Building is to restore the natural relation between building form and the inhabitants.

John Habraken

Architect, educator, and theorist

OpenBuilt Technology

We believe architects, builders, and suppliers should embrace OpenBuilding technologies and technique, enabling the industry to create a series of standardized systems and processes that increase efficiency and reduce costs, without sacrificing creativity.

The Concept

John Habraken first expressed the principles of OpenBuilding in his book Supports: An Alternative to Mass Housing, published in 1961. Habraken proposed that housing must recognize the action of the community and that of the individual occupant. The concept of OpenBuilding therefore addresses the conflict between the inertia of the building industry and constantly changing consumer demand by decoupling building parts with different life cycles to facilitate adaptive change.

In 1994, Benson developed his Open-Built system by merging the thinking of John Habraken and Stewart Brand (author, How Buildings Learn) with his own concepts to develop the first practical, digitally-based 3D design, fabrication, and construction system for OpenBuilding. Benson developed the Open-Built platform to allow simple modification of structures as occupant needs change.


New Ideas

The central idea behind Open-Built is to “disentangle” the building’s interior and exterior systems into separate, functional layers. One layer, for instance, would be lighting, wiring, plumbing, and ducts for heating and ventilation; and another would be cabinets and furniture. By building the home in the virtual environment before building it on-site, structural and aesthetic conflicts could be reconciled before build instructions were released, improving accuracy and eliminating waste.

The exterior of an Open-Built building is intended to last hundreds of years, while the interior systems with shorter life spans are designed for easy installation and access. The system enabled Bensonwood to begin fabricating entire wall systems in 2000—from insulation to windows—in the company’s design, fabrication, and assembly facility. The on-site building process is also completed in a matter of weeks rather than months.


The Future of Building

In 2006, Benson began a partnership with MIT’s House_n Research Consortium and other industry partners, as part of an Open Prototype Initiative, with the goal of developing affordable, adaptable, high-performance houses.

Bensonwood’s Open-Built design+build system takes a layered approach to building, with each layer defined by its life span and anticipated need for future alteration. The high quality homes resulting from this process are built rapidly and with minimal waste. Bensonwood’s Open-Built process begins at the design phase, with a view toward well-organized, disentangled systems and a focus on efficiency in materials and assembly. This is carried throughout the building process to ensure efficient project coordination, easier scheduling, shorter construction time, and ultimately, lower costs to you — now, and in the future.





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Bensonwood Design|Build

We build homes that matter.


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Our Family

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Tektoniks Advanced Building Components


Bensonwood Design|Build

We build homes that matter.