RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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RESPONSIVE WOOD ARCHITECTURES

[2009 - 2012]


RESEARCH LEADERS

Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel

 

AHO RESEARCH TEAM

Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel, Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, Prof. Dr. Birger Sevaldson, Prof. Emeritus Dr. George Jeronimidis


At AHO the research into wood as a mutli-capacity heterongenous material in architecture was initiated through a series of master-level studio and elective courses, as well as diploma projects led by Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel and Research Fellow Defne Sunguroglu Hensel in part in conjunction with Prof. Dr. Birger R. Sevaldson and visiting staff Prof. Dr. George Jeronimidis.

The Responsive Wood Architectures studios commenced in 2009 and pursued integrated research on wood in architecture from a performance perspective. The studio hosted seminars with invited international experts in the field, such as Prof. Dr. George Jeronimids, expert on biomimetics, Dr. Christoph Schindler, expert on developments in manufacturing and technology approaches, et al. This was followed by strategic meetings with the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food that also governs forestry in 2011, the Research Council of Norway and various research bodies that focused on setting the scene for a successful grant applicantion in the Institute of Architecture at AHO.

The studios were based on the premise that a full integration of design and sustainability cannot be brought to a higher level understanding of performative design, unless such an effort is based on utilising material characteristics in ways that are currently not common practice. The research by design effort in the master-level studios and diploma projects focused therefore on a holistic and integrated approach to the entire value chain from forestry, to wood industries to architectural utilisation of wood. Particular focus was placed on species, environment and growth specific aspects of wood as a heterogeneous, anisotropic and hygroscopic material.

The Internal differentiation of wood and the resultant dimensionally variable material behaviour in responds to environmental dynamics are typically seen as negative aspects. However, when deployed with a design purpose, this may present interesting opportunities for design. The effect on the wood industry would be a demand for more diverse wood products from a greater variety of tree species. In turn this may change industrial forestry towards biodiversity. Rethinking the properties of wood in architecture and design can therefore have far-reaching repercussion. To initiate the research necessary to affect such changes is the aim of the Responsive Wood Studio.

Responsive Wood Architectures Studio 2011

Studio Staff: Prof. Michael U. Hensel, Research Fellow Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel, Asst. Prof. Solveig Sandness

Students: Dan Li, Trond Slåke, Sveinn Bjarki Thorarinsson, Wenying Zhang

rcat web_wood_2011_compression

10t Compression Press developed by Trond Slåke and Sveinn Bjarki Thorarinsson


Diploma Project 2010: Shaping Wood: The Material is the Mechanism

Diploma Student: Linn Tale Haugen - IDE Institute for Design

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

Industrial Design master student Linn Tale Haugen examined the seedpod of a Flamboyant Tree (Delonix regia) regarding its material make-up and resulting self-shaping tendencies induced by hygroscopic behaviour. The seedpod is characterised by a layering of material with different fibre directions. The angle of rotation of the fibres in the layers and the thickness of the layers determines the degree of warping of the two parts of the seed pot as a result of moisture-loss induced shrinkage. The warping serves the purpose of separating the two parts of the seed pot and releasing the seeds. Based on this observation Haugen re-examined lamination rules for form-stabile laminates. Timber laminates are generally composed of an odd number of layers since this locks the warping directions of the different layers into a form-stabile configuration. As the warping is determined by the fibre-direction, the specific rotation of the layers is key to accomplishing form-stability. Likewise, however, this offers the opportunity to devise non-form-stabile laminates that exploit the hygroscopic behaviour of the material. In a laminate with an even number of layers, the fibre-direction of the various layers can be utilized to warp the laminate in a controlled way. In addition wood species and cuts with lesser or greater hygroscopic behaviour determines the degree of warping. This then delivers control over the direction and extent of what becomes controlled warping.

Specific single or double curvature of laminates can be attained by way of fibre direction in the different layers and the related directions of swelling and shrinkage in

moisturizing and drying the wood. It is then no longer necessary to derive such curved elements by means of machining, such as routing, which results in a large amount of off-cuts or sawdust, or, alternatively, the costly production of moulds. After numerous experiments with different types of wood Haugen decided on using beech veneer due to its elasticity and related ability to warp without cracking. Subsequently she undertook a large number of experiments to arrive at pre-specified curvatures of the laminate. This was initially done with continuous layers, that is to say one fibredirection per layer, and subsequently with layers consisting of rotated patches to gain more surface area and more curvature variation in the laminate. The self-shaping process remains to some extent reversible when the material remains untreated. Alternatively the laminate can be fixed in the warped shape by sealing the surface. In her master dissertation Haugen also demonstrated various product design related uses, including a screen-wall and a lampshade that respond to changes in the ambient humidity.

RCAT LinnTaleHaugen_Diploma_02


Responsive Wood Architectures Studio 2010

Studio Staff: Prof. Michael U. Hensel, Research Fellow Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel, Prof. Dr. Birger Sevaldson

Students: Andreas Amasalidis, Stefano Apollonio, Mariel Bacigalupe Villalabeitia, Stephannie Fell, Jiao Luo, Wing Yi Hui, Lap Ming Wong

>> Timber Innovation Award 2014 (Treteknisk)

>> Mariel Bacigalupe Villabeitia and Stephanie Fell received the second prize in the Bergen International Wood Festival 2010

Master students Wing Yi Hui and Lap Ming Wong aimed at producing a self-supporting structural web consisting of 0,75 mm thin pine veneer strips. Initial experiments served to establish the relationship between cut, fibre-direction, moisture content and the extent to which the rectangular veneer elements could be bend and twisted without cracking. In a following series of experiments the elements were configured into assemblies, with each element bend and twisted and a high moisture content in the assembly process. A large series of succesive material expreiments enabled a controlled process of assembling elements with high moisture content that in the process of drying and shrinking increased the tension in the assembly without cracking. This process of post-stressing due to drying increased the structural capacity of the resultant structural web. This capacity was demonstrated in a full-scale construction of a small pavilion for the Oslo Architectural Triennial in 2010.

RCAT web_WoodStudio_2010_03_lowres

Assembly of bend pine veneer strips with high moisture content

RCAT web_WoodStudio_01lowres

Associative computational model for the Oslo Architectural Triennial Pavilion. The computational model is based on material experiments that served to establish the geometric constraints of the model.

RCAT web_WoodStudio_02lowres

Top: Incremental pre-stressing of the structure by way of increased bending. Bottom: Completed Pavilion for the Oslo Architectural Triennial 2010.

RCAT web_WoodStudio_2010_04_lowres

Pavilion for the Oslo Architectural Triennial 2010.

Master students Mariel Bacigalupe Villalabeitia and Stephannie Fell aimed at designing a self-supporting structure made from 2 mm beech / pine strips.Initial experiments served to establish the relationship between cut, fibre-direction, moisture content and the extent to which the rectangular veneer elements could be bend and twisted without cracking. In a following series of experiments the elements were configured into assemblies, with each element bend and twisted and a high moisture content in the assembly process. This demonstrated the capacity of the system in a full-scale construction at the Bergen International Wood festival in which they were awarded 2nd prize.

rcat web_wood_2010_ripples_01

Material experiments by Mariel Bacigalupe Villalabeitia and Stephannie Fell: bending and twisting beech strips with high moisture content.

rcat web_woodstudio2010_bergenfestival_01

2nd Prize Entry to the Bergen International Wood Festival 2010 by Mariel Bacigalupe Villalabeitia and Stephannie Fell.

rcat web_woodstudio2010_bergenfestival_02

2nd Prize Entry to the Bergen International Wood Festival 2010 by Mariel Bacigalupe Villalabeitia and Stephannie Fell.


Responsive Wood Architectures Studio 2009

Studio Staff: Prof. Michael U. Hensel, Prof. Dr. Birger R. Sevaldson, Research Fellow Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel

Visiting Staff: Prof. Dr. George Jeronimidis, Director Center of Biomimetics, Reading University

Students: Martin Eide, Christoph Feinweber, Alejandro Flores, Linn Tale Haugen, Frode Magnus Næss, Leena Rantamaula, Patrik Olof Skjæerstad, Ida Angel Weum

Linn Tale Haugen examined the seed pod of a Flamboyant tree (Delonix regia), focusing on its material make-up and resulting self-shaping tendencies induced by hygroscopic behaviour. The seed pod is characterised by a layering of material with different fibre directions. The angle of rotation of the fibres in the layers and the thickness of these layers determine the  degree of warping of the two parts of the seed pod as a result of shrinkage induced by moisture loss. The warping serves the purpose of separating the two parts of the seed pod and releasing the seeds. Based on this observation, Linn Tale Haugen re-examined lamination rules for form-stabile laminates. Timber laminates are generally composed of an odd number of layers since this locks the warping directions of the different layers into a form-stabile configuration. As the warping is determined by the fibre direction, the specific rotation of the layers is key to accomplishing formstability. Likewise,  this offers the opportunity to devise non-formstabile laminates that exploit the hygroscopic behaviour of the material. In a laminate  with an even number of layers, the fibre direction of the various layers can be utilised to warp the laminate in a controlled way. In addition, the degree of hygroscopic behaviour in different wood species determines their degree of warping. This then delivers control over the direction and extent of what becomes controlled warping. Specific single or double curvature of laminates can be attained by way of fibre direction in the different layers and the related directions of swelling and shrinkage in moisturising and drying the wood. It is then no longer necessary to derive such curved elements by means of machining, such as routing, which results in a large amount of offcuts or sawdust, or, alternatively, the costly production of moulds. After numerous experiments with different types of wood, Lin Tale Haugen decided on using beech veneer due to its elasticity and related ability to warp without cracking. Subsequently she undertook a large number of experiments to arrive at pre-specified curvatures of the laminate. This was initially done with continuous layers, that is to say one fibre direction per layer, and subsequently with layers consisting of rotated patches to gain more surface area and more curvature variation in the laminate. The self-shaping process remains to some extent reversible when the material remains untreated. Alternatively the laminate can be fixed in the warped shape by sealing the surface.

rcat web_wood_2009_linntale_01


Responsive Wood Architectures Elective Course 2009

Staff: Prof. Michael U. Hensel

Students + Research Topics:

Andreas Bohler: Constructing like Trees: Combining Minimum Path Equilibrium, L-Systems and Computer-aided Optimization Methods

Martin Eide: Understanding Shape-optimization in Trees in relation to Branching and the internal Structure of Wood in comparison with Joining in Carpentry

Anders Hartmann: Hollow Compression-laminated Timber Tubes as Arches, Columns and Cantilevering Beams

Linn Tale Haugen: A Proposal for active Use of Internal Stress as a Working Mould in Laminate and Plywood Elements made from Beech Veneer

Magnus Næss: An Energy Study on Bending Green Wood as a Production Method for Construction Purposes