digital wood – design & fabrication of a full-scale exhibition structure in plywood

Title: Digital Wood – Design & fabrication of a full-scale exhibition structure in plywood
Type: Master’s thesis in Architecture and Urban Design
Year: 2016
Author: Oscar Gillkvist, Viktoria Henriksson, Emil Poulsen
Supervisor: Daniel Norell, Jonas Lundgren
Publisher: Chalmers University of Technology – Department of Architecture (Material Turn studo)

Wood has always been a common building material in Sweden, where both the nature and the timber itself have provided a source of inspiration for Swedish artists and architects. Now with the use of modern technology and new treatment methods, the boundaries are pushed for how this conventional material can be used to unleash new creative potentials.

The possibilities of digital fabrication help us as designers to stretch the domains of timber construction. With full scale experiments, a representative model of wood properties and details can be studied. Plywood has many times before been used for temporary structures in architecture, mainly because of the relatively low cost and availability. Plywood is often seen as a perfectly flat sheet material, free from otherwise common properties of timber such as imperfections and grain direction. However, plywood is actually a diverse material with inherent dynamic associated with the tree is once came from. This is something that is rarely seen in contemporary plywood design but could be emphasized and more accessible through computational design and digital fabrication.

Through investigations, full-scale experiments and digital tools this thesis seeks to explore new perspectives of programing timber in the field of architecture and design. In collaboration with our sponsors a temporary structure was designed and built for the “Tomorrow’s Wood Production” venue which functioned as a gathering place and visual label for visitors, while exploring new unexpected ways of materializing wood.

Read the full-text publication here