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Suspended Remnants

By

  • Kim Baber, The University of Queensland
  • Jane Burry, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Canhui Chen, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Joe Gattas, The University of Queensland
  • Aurimas Bukauskas, University of Cambridge

Description

The Suspended Remnants Pavilion was designed and fabricated using a bespoke computational tool that combines structural efficiency in geometries with a material inventory constraint.
Through automation, an inventory of timber members of short unique lengths, typically deemed unusable in the industry, are repurposed into high-value architectural components.
This project was an exhibition piece for the 2019 Form and Force: Advanced Manufacturing and Materials competition in Barcelona, organized by the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. This competition called for designs demonstrating innovation in the “construction of lightweight structures by cutting-edge techniques and smart materials for the built environment”.

Key Features

1

This project presents a novel technical workflow which facilitates the exploration of architectural form whilst simultaneously satisfying structural efficiency and material inventory constraints using waste material. It demonstrates that through the utilisation of technology, low value or waste material can be up-cycled for the creation of high value and sophisticated architectural design.
This is relevant in relation to the current environmental crises. This research and technical workflow could be extended beyond the timber industry to other manufacturing industries that similarly generate by-products that have a similar potential of being re-purposed for design.

2

Every tree being harvested and sawn into structural timber is subject to inherent natural variation. The distribution of defects within sawn timber are unpredictable and it leads to large amounts of sawn timber that are uncertifiable for structural use. In a standard sawmill plant, only about 50% of the volume of timber harvested is certified for use as structural grade timber.

The pavilion demonstrates a process that can transform timber by-products into a high-value timber structure and increase the yield of structural grade timber from otherwise under-valued plantation resources, recovering 96.2 kg from the 109 kg of utility-grade stock.

3

This project presents a novel technical workflow which facilitates the exploration of architectural form whilst simultaneously satisfying structural efficiency and material inventory constraints using waste material. It demonstrates that through the utilisation of technology, low value or waste material can be up-cycled for the creation of high value and sophisticated architectural design.

This is relevant in relation to the current environmental crises. This research and technical workflow could be extended beyond the timber industry to other manufacturing industries that similarly generate by-products that have a similar potential of being re-purposed for design.

4

Timber members containing frequent defects such as knots, checks, splits, wane, may be certified as structural grade if those defects are removed. However, this typically results in timbers with short and inconsistent lengths. For most commercial framing applications this variability produces unpredictability and a random inventory of elements which is deemed inconvenient and time-consuming for designers and contractors to work with. To overcome such inconveniences and time inefficiencies, a computational tool is developed to combine structural form-finding process with an automated part assignment algorithm to achieve material efficiency through both structurally rational form, and minimization of material waste.

5

1. A tight fit, two-way dovetail lap-joint was developed to connect the short length timbers into arches. The mechanical interlock provides an effective solution for rapid construction.

2. A unique three-way node joint connecting the arches to form the pavilion.

One of the challenges in this project is to connect non-coplanar arches meeting at a node with varying angles of incidence. This project developed a unique node system which could be machined on 3-axis-CNC routers, enabling the ease of fabrication using modestly equipped workshops.

3. A translucent skin defining the interior and exterior spaces and entry points of the pavilion

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