Conceptual Joining – Wood Structures from Detail to Utopia ” is a project at the University of Applied Arts Vienna funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)(AR395-G24).
The team consists of Architects, Designers, Carpenters and Engineers

Project Lead: Christoph Kaltenbrunner
Mentors: Karin Raith, Anja Jonkhans, Clemens Preisinger
Researchers: Lukas Allner, Daniela Kröhnert, Philipp Reinsberg, Mechthild Weber

In the course of industrialization timber construction changed considerably. The traditional crafted joints were widely replaced by metal connectors. The anisotropic structure of wood was considered a disadvantage and therefore various homogenized timber products were developed, largely eliminating characteristic qualities of wood. We regard it as the better strategy to make use of the material’s natural properties thus capitalizing on nature instead of struggling against it.

Various traditional timber constructions such as Japanese joinery took advantage of wood’s natural structure and behavior but today the time consuming and therefore expensive production makes them uneconomical. CAD/CAM and especially parametric modeling now offer a powerful way of re-interpreting traditional woodworking and open up new horizons for furniture and timber architecture.

By combining the qualities of traditional craftsmanship with the potential of cutting-edge computational techniques a variety of structural configurations and wood joining methods will be developed and tested. Apart from theoretical research our work will be based primarily on practical experimentation. Informed by an in depth understanding of material behavior and correlating joining principles we develop design systems, geometries and structures.

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