Thinking outside the wall

Did you ever stop to think about how stupid our walls are?

A typical wall in a family dwelling in North America is a custom built piece of rock, set in place upon either side of a wooden frame. Ostensibly they keep moisture from crossing from one side to the next, and ideally they are airtight. If they are of modern construction, then  they are insulated as well. Every opening, which are frequent (think of it, every window, door, electrical outlet, etc.), much be carefully constructed to maintain this solidity against air and moisture.

That all well and good, but then we also run most of important bits of electrical and plumbing through them, with no way to access those bits when the eventually break down. How stupid is that? You not only have to custom manufacture these walls on the spot, but then if there is anything inside them you need to get at, you have to break them apart (a difficult process all on its own), and then repair them again. That’s like running the break and shifter cables for your bicycle through the inter tubes on the wheels.

Walls should be built with at least one side completely and easily removable. I’m thinking no more than 8 bolts per 4’x8′ section. The edges should mate up so they are air and water tight with neighboring sections, and the borders with other walls, the floor, and the ceiling should either do the same, or at least have a way of applying trim to them which provides this same function.¬†That way if I have a plumbing leak, or need to rewire an outlet, I can just unscrew the trim and wall pieces as needed, do the repairs, and then simply reattach the panels back into place. An added benefit of such panels would be that I could take them out, one at a time, to the garage, to paint or clean them. Much easier than dirtying up the whole house.

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