ARCH 4605/6605
Tectonic Timber

Close-up of angular wooden pieces

Vidy Theatre Pavilion Lausanne, designed by Yves Weinand, Atelier Cube.

  • Instructor: Katharina Kral
  • Time: M 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation

Tectonics is defined as the art of using material and construction methods in such a way that they form an integral component of the design and actively help to shape it. The Greek word tektōn means carpenter, wood-worker, or builder, which indicates that historically, wood played a critical role for the understanding of buildings as such. Today, population growth, urbanization, and climate change challenge us more than ever to develop visions for sustainable architecture. In that context, wood is of particular interest, as it is a renewable resource, relatively easy to process and has good structural, thermal, and aesthetic properties. This course will explore the tectonic quality of timber buildings, looking at the unity of design, execution, and material. Structural properties, construction systems, and joinery will be studied in depth through lectures, hands-on exercises, and small design projects.

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