Our research investigates how to increase the amount of durable products from timber per unit of raw material, maximise the materials potential as Carbon sink and allow for new expressions for design and engineering.
Increasing the use of wood in construction helps to lower the carbon footprint of buildings and is a first step towards a biobased economy in construction. However due to the industrial logics of timber production, where every piece of wood needs to live up to set quality standards, up to 70% of input forest material is in traditional workflows lost during the production of timber for buildings, as it is declared low quality or cut or milled away in process.
Our research probes whether computational techniques can create a new link between the highly variant qualities and appearances of the natural grown material of wood in nature and timber construction in buildings, where predictability and performance within set specification are key. We pursue a holistic approach, which establishes a flow of data between the currently separate areas of processing trees into timber and the use of it as elements in buildings. For this we need to extend the usual top-down design processes in timber architecture with a bottom up dialog between existing material qualities and design performance requirements.
Our development combines material and computational systems to acquire data from the tree, a custom design system, which analyses the data and generates specification for the cutting of boards and the lamination of the elements.
Tom Svilans is an Innochain PhD fellow at CITA in Copenhagen. His research focuses on the link between industrial timber fabrication and early-stage architectural design. Through hands-on prototyping, coding, and industry secondments, he looks at how certain material properties and behaviours of timber can be leveraged to create smarter and more innovative design solutions.
He focuses on free-form glue-laminated timber as a specific area of inquiry, and proposes that through a reconsideration of existing processes – a reshuffling of steps such as bending, gluing, and machining – and more material-aware design modelling methods, we can arrive at new, innovative, and more accessible free-form timber structures.
He is partnered with White Arkitekter and Blumer-Lehmann AG. Before joining CITA, Tom was a Teaching Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London where he specialized in robotics and digital fabrication, and he was Technical Director at ScanLAB Projects where he was responsible for workflow development, creative direction, and international fieldwork.
Tom can be reached at email@example.com
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under FET grant agreement no. 858132