Solidity Subdivision – Robotically cut timber joints

Related Staff : Christian Lange

Student: Yin Xiaoxiang

This thesis seeks to understand the potentials of traditional Chinese craftsmanship in today’s built environment through the lens of robotic fabrication. The Chinese order in timber construction is at the heart of this project. It has been reevaluated not only in terms of its aesthetics but also in terms of its ability to be manufactured via automated fabrication systems.

The traditional Dougong system in Chinese order has been used for centuries. Though based on pure structural principles, it has evolved as one of the principal ornamental elements in Chinese architecture. Today, most architects ignore its structural potentials and instead prefer to use the Dougong just as an iconic cultural element.

In this thesis project, I have developed a system that transferred the traditional three separated components (Roof – Dougong – Column) of Chinese order into a holistic, integrated system. The advantage of this approach is that it can utilize smaller timber sections instead of large beams and columns. As a result, the method not only has the potential to bring back the traditional building system of the Dougong through a modern interpretation but also has the potential to be more sustainable.