Type: Design-Built Studio

Year: 2016

construction videos: video timelapse

Studio Brief

Starting from the fine art of japanese wooden joinery that has always been about the symbiosis of function and beauty we will design and fabricate a Lusthaus in the form of a skeletal timber structure. We are interested in reinterpreting traditional wood joining techniques with today’s available digital tools in fabrication and design. Over the course of the semester we will be using ABB Robot IRB 140 equipped with a milling head to build big scale prototypes. The goal is to exploit the latest design and fabrication techniques for skeleton timber structures. Investigate in the tectonics of wooden structures and rethink traditional wooden joining techniques. Over the course of the semester we will be working on an industrial robot to produce the individual components (milling, drilling). Producing prototypes within several production sessions the students will learn how to prepare 3d data for the robot, how to generate milling paths, how to generate robot code and how to operate the robot. The feedback from working with the robot should highly influence the design and vice versa.


The inspiration for the „Cocoon“ were empty insect nests. We were fascinated by the structures of the cocoon due to its bionic construction on the rough outside, while having a smooth structure on the inside and its sheltered behavior. This difference and interaction between inside and outside with its created space in a distorted sphere-shape became our thread. In the first step we rebuilt the rugged surface with the clay model to get an overall idea of scale and massiveness. This massive model led to the decision to focus on a light geometric structure and a modular system when creating the digital model for the wooden beam structure. We tried different kinds of models based on parametrized geometric forms, to optimize the „Cocoon’s“ system. Outer and inner structure, scale, height, inner space and usability were the main factors which led to our final design. This design consists of three rings on the outer surface on top of each other. Each ring has one inner and one outer ring, horizontal twisted and vertical tilted. This creates overlaps which give the „Cocoon“ a strong structure and appearance, while maintaining a light impression at the same time. There are two different kinds of joints in the „Cocoon“. Four beams coming together for connecting the rings on top of each other and overlaps of two beams within the rings itself. The inside has a column made out of rings as well, which continues this system of four beam joints. Different densities within the wooden beam mesh, while keeping the same system, create an interaction and contrast between inside and outside.

Teachers: Urs Hirschberg, Florian Fend, Martin Kaftan

Guest Teachers: Elmar Hess (HESS Engineers)

Student Assistants: Theresa Rosina Fink, Julian Jauk

Students: Primoz  Brglez,  Julia  Bruckmüller, Xaver Burkart, Michael Deutsch, Lukas Gosch, Sabrina Patricia Kullmaier, Paul Christoph Lindheim, Stefan Neuman, Daniel Plazza, Victoria Postlmayr, Georg Scherrer, Christoph Thambauer, Corinna Wassermann, Lukas Wokatsch, Nusa Zupanc, Sayna Abbasaliyan

Photos: Simon Oberhofer