Architectural Aspects of Massive Timber - The Potential of Massive Timber Structures

Abstract: The work presented in this thesis concerns architecturalutilising of new plate-like timber-products. It has beenperformed at the Division of Building Engineering at KTH Schoolof Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology inStockholm.Since the beginning of the 1990’s the area ofindustrially processed timber products has received several newcontributions, techniques and products, which open up avenuesto novel design features. From the flora of products, thisthesis concentrates on plate-like surface-elements. Thepotential of their architectural use in construction isoutlined. The analysis is based on viewing and treatingbuildings as systems with a specific function, depending on therelations and co-action between its parts and integratedsub-systems. A prerequisite for good system-action is aholistic approach to the interactive development of structure,detailing, especially in connections, and installations.The focus is set at the interplay between architectural andstructural design. This approach is not new, since timber hasbeen used in buildings, for visual and structural purposethroughout a long history, all over Europe. In fact, suchapplications have been very varied and characteristic ofdifferent regions, which adds to the charm of classicarchitecture in wood. Now that new structural components, likeplate-like products, are introduced it is likely that a certainstandardisation of expression will appear. It is thereforeinteresting to identify and discuss recent trends belonging todifferent regions in parallel. Conditions and activities inSweden are compared with similar cases in Austria andSwitzerland.The thesis comprises analyses of technical reports andresearch programmes, as well as studies of built objects andexperimental applications. Impressions are registered from workin practice and production conditions. Some historicalcomparisons have been made in order to illustrate similaritiesand differences. The prerequisites for interactive developmentare surveyed and evaluated to form a basis for further and morepractical architectural research on the subject.Keywords:Massive timber, surface elements, systems,co-action, interactivity, holism, architectural language

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