The seminar focuses on the unique merge of digitalisation, material performance and craft.

Through processes of material manipulation, Digital Woodcraft explores the possibilities of (robotic) fabrication of wood structures. The aim is to analyse and materialize the potential of wood-work within a framework of computation and fabrication towards sustainable design solutions.


Credits: Marina Spa Prototype / Helen & Hard, Tom Svilans, Design-to-Production GmbH, Winther A/S

How have digital tools changed age-old practices of wood craft and timber construction? 

This seemingly simple question has been asked and answered in many different ways since the introduction of numerical control and automation in timber manufacturing, and has led to the design and construction of entirely novel timber morphologies and dramatic new architectures. 

The capacity of digital modelling tools to represent forms is enormous; however, the affordances of timber and timber manufacturing are more tempered. By engaging with the processes of fabrication directly, and experiencing the consequences of our design decisions, we can better understand how to navigate these affordances with our design ambitions intact. The tools and contexts of craftsmanship have changed, however the central principles remain the same: a deep understanding of the capacities, constraints, and inclinations of both tool and material, guided by a learned knowledge of the specific consequences of specific decisions.


Credits: Marina Spa Prototype / Helen & Hard, Tom Svilans, Design-to-Production GmbH, Winther A/S


So what new tectonic languages can we impart to our constructions? How can we appropriate the mechanical movements of a CNC router and turn them into a choreography that traces out our design ambitions? In this seminar, we will explore the world of digitally designed and fabricated timber structures – how they are conceived, communicated, and materialised – and how to predict the impacts of design decisions on material behaviour. Through this effort, we will begin to form the beginnings of our own material practice – operating in the fertile space between digital drawing and physical making.


Credits: Fabrication-led design modelling / Tom Svilans


Learning Objectives

At course completion the student will:

  • Understand the basics of material properties and behaviours in timber;
  • Understand the basics of the production constraints of CNC-machined timber elements;
  • Be capable of designing and making architectural assemblies that recognize these constraints and how to mitigate them;
  • Be capable of moving from a schematic design proposal of a timber assembly to a fabrication-ready proposition.


Projects from this course


MASTER IN ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE ROBOTIC WOODCRAFT FACULTY:  Alexandre Dubor, Marielena Papandreou, Huanyu Li STUDENT: Snehal Pare, Sbusiso Bhembe, Natnaree Wichieansin, Shrey Kapur, Hritik Thumar

Digital Woodcraft

Location Site Synthesis of ideas Final proposal was based on the ideas of the group projects from previous semester. The task was to identify key elements of each design and combine them in project. Design proposal Fabrication Connection to the rocks Base beam and supports base beam base beam elements supports Sitting area Side beams … Read more


This project explores the relationship between raw wood and standard timber through active bending. A series of, 45x45x130mm, timber joint were developed in order to connect and actively bend raw wood sticks.Relying on both standardized and customized digital construction methods, the structure considers scalability, ease of install, and natural strengths and weaknesses of the material. … Read more

Digital woodcraft

Exploring the unique properties of timber and the fabrication methods associated with it, enabling us to work with complex geometries and find appropriate strategies to realize them. We started out looking at different situations to apply our geometry and potentially make a gapahuk (a building made of wooden materials, originally intended for emergency accommodation), forest … Read more

Timber Pergola

Exploring the Strength and Beauty of Wood Joinery The Timber Pergola project is a study of timber joineries, which explores the use of linear and square shapes with 90-degree angles in the horizontal direction and a 12-degree joint to create a tension structure in the vertical direction. The project is inspired by the Forests of … Read more

Possibilities of Reciprocal Timber Structures in the Formation of Space

Possibilities of Reciprocal Timber Structures in the Formation of Space is a project that aimed to explore the potential of using reciprocal timber structures to create innovative and functional spaces. The projects main goal is to leverage both traditional artisanal technologies and modern digital tools to create structures that combine beauty, functionality and sustainability. The … Read more