In the course of industrialization timber construction changed considerably. The traditional crafted joints were
widely replaced by metal connectors. The anisotropic structure of wood was considered a disadvantage and therefore various
homogenized timber products were developed, largely eliminating characteristic qualities of wood.
We regard it as the better strategy to make use of the material’s natural properties thus capitalizing on nature
instead of struggling against it. Besides ecological advantages, wood has a significant artistic potential. Its sensual qualities
and structural individuality make each piece unique. It is a dynamic, almost interactive material that transforms reacting
to climatic conditions and in return affects the environment. Its liveliness through an inherent logic creates a tension between
designer, material and user.
Various traditional timber constructions such
as Japanese joinery took advantage of wood’s natural structure and behavior but today the time consuming and therefore expensive
production makes them uneconomical. CAD/CAM and especially parametric modeling now offer a powerful way of re-interpreting
traditional woodworking and open up new horizons for furniture and timber architecture. Instead of developing a rather abstract
design first (as often practiced) and then searching for the appropriate material for its realization we will take the specific
properties of wood as a starting point. We expect this materialoriented design method to produce structural logic, topical
cultural expression and a specific aesthetic in the use of wood.
the qualities of traditional craftsmanship with the potential of cutting-edge computational techniques a variety of structural
configurations and wood joining methods will be developed and tested. Apart from theoretical research our work will be based
primarily on practical experimentation. We will build upon older achievements in woodworking such as lightweight curvature
of bent wood (Thonet), structural curved surfaces in bent plywood (Eames) and new material based approaches in avant-garde
design (IBOIS laboratory of EPFL Lausanne, ETH Zurich and ICD/ITKE Stuttgart) where wood properties are used to inform parametric
models for the design of experimental pavilions. Investigations will include the analysis of material properties on various
levels and scales as well as mechanical and chemical joints within frameworks of structural members. Informed by an in depth
understanding of material behavior and correlating joining principles we develop design systems, geometries and structures.
These could be translucent, textured, bendable, moving, adapting, transforming etc. constructs. From small objects we will
proceed to larger-scale structures and usable architectural spaces.
process will become visible through an interactive “physical blog”. By “posting” experimental results in exhibitions we expose
them to the public on a regular basis. At key moments the research work will accumulate in full-scale installations (pavilions)
at different locations in Europe and the US.