This research is about the design process, development and fabrication of a free-form structure in crosslaminated timber (CLT) panels. Since sustainability, ecology and structural design are now relevant in any building project, the purpose of this research is to demonstrate that CLT panels can be used as an ecoresponsive strategy based on a building form. This paper presents the use of a tessellation construction system for designing and producing a freeform surface in CLT for a specific regional and industrial context. The research/creation process and the retroactive simulation generated by the parametric modelling software enabled the development of a singular architectural project where the structural aspect and the manufacturing are the inherent part of the integrated design process. Finally, the cutting files can be generated automatically for an easy transfer to CNC machine tools.
This research project presents both innovative multi-scalar modelling methods and production processes aimed at facilitating the design and fabrication of free-form glue-laminated timber structures. The paper reports on a research effort that aims to elucidate and formalize the connection between material performance, multi-scalar modelling (Weinan 2011), and early-stage architectural design, in the context of free-form glue-laminated timber structures. This paper will examine how the concept of multi-scalar modelling as found in other disciplines can also be used to embed low-level material performance of glue-laminated timber into early-stage architectural design processes, thus creating opportunities for feedback across the design chain and an increased flexibility in effecting changes. The research uses physical prototypes as a means to explore and evaluate the methods presented.