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Local designer offers open house for innovative new building shell system


Suitable for homes, commercial buildings and other uses, the system requires only three Lego block-type components to rapidly assemble. Options for interior floor plans and exterior appearance are limited only by imagination and budget.

Over the past several years, and with assistance from the Maine Technology Institute, Thom Labrie of Shelter +? Inc. has been quietly working on a project he hopes will help solve some of the most common problems associated with traditional building design. The results, a new “Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System,” could change the way homes and other buildings of the future look and perform.

“From day one, my goal was to create a construction system that would provide owners with a far higher level of financial, physical and environmental performance than they could get from most every other building system on the market,” said Labrie. “The objective was to use 21st-century technology, materials and know-how to deliver a common sense, ‘less is more’ solution for providing more structure, versatility, and comfort, along with higher long-term resale value, all for less cost and in a more environmentally responsible manner. It’s all about getting out of the box and delivering the quality and value that building owners deserve.”

Labrie started the project by establishing seven design and performance objectives that he believes should form the standard for new construction in the 21st century. These include reduced life cycle ownership costs; shorter construction timeframes to reduce owner carrying costs; high structural integrity to withstand the more severe weather conditions to be generated by global warming; unrestricted interior floor plan options; very low energy consumption and maintenance; and a smaller environmental footprint than any conventional building system on the market today.

“It took years longer than I expected, but the end result hit the bulls eye dead center,” he says.

That result is a revolutionary building shell system that requires only three Lego block-type components to rapidly assemble an extremely durable, tight and exceptionally well insulated structure that can efficiently serve the needs of the residential, commercial and professional building sectors. Options for interior floor plans and décor, along with the exterior appearance of the building, are limited only by the owner’s imagination and budget.

Labrie gets animated when discussing the early reaction to his new building system. “With very limited outreach so far, we have received far more positive reactions and sincere interest in the concept than we had even hoped for. We are already busy developing designs and pricing packages for a number of clients”.

The company will provide an opportunity to get a closer look at the concept with an open house of the prototype building, located at Bower Construction Company, 557 Hallowell-Litchfield Road in West Gardiner, on Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those wanting to learn more may also visit their educational website at

Questions may be directed to Thom Labrie at 754-4244 ( or Bob Bower at 458-2641 (

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