Timber Villa Option Studio (2017)

Cornell University AAP
Instructors: Sasa Zivkovic, Assistant Professor / Christopher A. Battaglia, Teaching Associate

Today’s buildings will be built by robots and machines! We engage and shape the most dramatic paradigm shift in architecture and construction since the Industrial Revolution: the transition from manual building practices towards mass customized robotic assemblies, advanced sustainable material explorations, automated manufacturing processes, and digital design principles. The TIMBER VILLA studio expands on heavy timber construction by utilizing and developing new robotic construction methods, with the aim to reveal their full architectural potential. Using the archetypal American manifestation of a house - the log cabin or timber frame structure - as a starting point, the studio will rethink construction with heavy timber from the ground up by examining the entire process of manufacturing and design with wood through the lens of new technology. 3d scanning irregularly shaped trunks, tree forks, and asymmetrical parts of trees, students will question the dominant paradigm of standardized and mass-produced wooden parts and dimensions. Investigating historic wood and timber construction techniques, the course will participate in a dialogue with the past, examine and understand critical practices of sustainable building with wood and broaden those practices through the implementation of new craft, technique, and technology.

 
_DSC9289.jpg
 

Using the archetypal American manifestation of a house - the log cabin or timber frame structure - as a starting point, the studio will rethink construction with heavy timber from the ground up by examining the entire process of manufacturing and design with wood through the lens of new technology. 3d scanning irregularly shaped trunks, tree forks, and asymmetrical parts of trees, students questioned the dominant paradigm of standardized and mass-produced wooden parts and dimensions. Investigating historic wood and timber construction techniques, the course participated in a dialogue with the past, examined and understood critical practices of sustainable building with wood and broaden those practices through the implementation of new craft, technique, and technology.

 
 
 
 

 

The class collectively designed and assembled its own set of tools to conduct research in robotic timber and log construction. Expanding upon the Vitruvian practice of construction machine design, we developed and rehabilitated a Kuka Kr-200 robotic arm equipped to mill and cut timber, allowing students to radically rethink and challenge wood construction. Interdisciplinary work was essential to create a studio culture of intellectual exchange across disciplines: collaborating with engineers, material scientists, computer scientists, artists, historians, and building industry. By engaging in the digital processes by using advanced computational methods and analysis tools in all stages of the design and fabrication process, the investigation were inherently architectural: joinery, structure, detailing, materiality, texture, envelope performance, assembly, and formal expression was studied in relation to new machine processes and building precedents.

 

CREDITS 

Timber Villa (2017)
Instructors: Sasa Zivkovic, Assistant Professor / Christopher A. Battaglia, Teaching Associate
Students: Kieran Haruta, Brian Havener, Savannah Chasing Hawk, Yichen Jia, Travis Nissen, Chuqi Xiao, Mingyue Yang, Yang Zhao

Sponsors: Cornell AAP Department of Architecture, Unalam

SPONSORS