hybrid Tag

Why build a hybrid?

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5 reasons to think outside the box

from Daizen News, 15 Sep 2011

First, what is a hybrid?  In my world, it’s a building with a mixed structure: some heavy structural timber (say, 20-ft.-long posts and beams that are 6 x 8 in. thick) in it, but it’s not all heavy timber. The rest of the structure is built conventionally—called stud framing, stick framing, or light construction—with 2 x 4-in. lumber.

A hybrid is a challenge for the designer. To build a balanced, cost-effective hybrid, the integration of the two systems is very critical. Technically, a hybrid contains structural timber (perhaps starting with some first-floor ceiling beams that hold up the second floor and expanding ideas for heavy timber from this point); timber accents (like beams that don’t support any weight) are not structural and usually don’t constitute a hybrid.

Now, why build one?  Here are 5 reasons:

5.  A great use of our precious big-timber resource is to include some big timber in common rooms such as the kitchen or living room, and then use light framing in the rest of the house.

4. Since big timber is, well, big, buildings of all heavy timber, especially residences, may be short on space in small areas like bathrooms or closets. Space may also be tight in small houses.  In this case, heavy timber just in common areas makes the best use of space.

3.  In renovations (where we are adapting, adding on, and adding ornament to an existing house), a bit of heavy timber—for outside, porch, or entryway accents, or for a big addition wing—can add the wood lover’s touch to a house without rebuilding the whole thing.

2. In hybrid commercial buildings, a good strategy is to use timber in both structure and accents to draw people in—entryway, roof, knee braces, railings, atrium.


1. And the biggest reason: hybrid houses cost less.  If budget is a concern for you, consider a hybrid house.

To see more about these hybrids, download our color portfolio. And visit the Daizen website for  more information.



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