Today’s timber construction combines the emerging technologies of digital fabrication with a recent renaissance in traditional techniques. Because of the idiosyncrasies of wood as a material, we believe that physical understanding – engendered through hands-on experience – is essential in leveraging the best of timber, even when processes are devolved to computer controlled machining.
Wood can be deployed in a wide range of spatial-structural configurations, each exploiting timber’s particular material properties. This allows a richness of application across building types, matching structural action to the spatial needs of accommodation, shelter and delight.
The natural flexibility and workability of wood makes it ideal for flowing freeform structures – through elastically bending into network structures like gridshells, or creating complex lamella geometries through CNC machining.
More conventional rectilinear structures suit residential and office buildings, whether single- or multi-storey. Structural arrangements generally fall into arrangements of discrete column and beam elements, or more continuous panel or cellular configurations.
The technologies of glue-lamination [glulam] and cross laminated timber [CLT] allow wood to be composed into high-performance engineered structures. By gluing layers of wood together, the effects of natural imperfections are minimised and consistent high performance structural elements produced.
Alternatively, wood used in its more natural forms allows a richer range of species and characteristics to be deployed.