In complex, programmed systems a multitude of dependencies between the singular parts exist. For example the later integration of an opening is only possible through a lot of time and effort. In reverse we researched the development of the sill and lintel system itself as the driving force for the development of a wall element. At the same time the constructive requirements to an exterior wall should not be neglected.
The students analyzed the constructive performance of preindustrial, traditional timber designs – specifically around wall openings. The research focused on constructive weather proofing and the correlation of load bearing system and building envelope. A traditional wood facade for example achieves weather protection of the poles’ face wood through their recessed position in the wall structure and the overhang above the window protects the sill from standing water. Such simple findings about the relation between concept and functionality got abstracted into opening systems. Furthermore these systems integrate the potential of the robotic timber fabrication process developed at the professorship. Through model building the relation of the singular pieces of the sill and lintel designs were tested. The rules for the interaction of the wood slats were transferred into algorithmic design tools which allowed fathoming the potential generated through the connection between digital fabrication and traditional craft.
Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Collaborators: Silvan Oesterle (project lead), Ralph Bärtschi, Mike Lyrenmann Students: Industry partner: Schilliger Wood AG