Wood and technology: a blend of another era

Wood and its link with digital processes for the development of new constructions.

We can think of wood as an archaic element that nature gave us, but the truth is that its versatility allows it to even adapt to new technologies and trends. This is the reason why in the Institute of Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, wood plays a key role, going through processes of robotic and computational character in experimental pavilions; these are performed "through parametric and algorithmic design strategies, providing a platform for further exploration of the integrated use of computational processes in architectural design," according to Madera21. cl.

As a materialized example of what ICD does, we can see this microarchitecture that was achieved through a log cabin; where the conventional use of wood construction is mixed with computational design and manufacturing technologies.

On the other hand, the ITKE focuses on the development of innovative structures, understanding the morphology of buildings and the use of high-performance materials as key aspects for architecture. Below we can see a building that is part of the same Institute.

Chile in wood digitalization

Chile has also sought to follow these steps, being the Faculty of Architecture and Construction of the Universidad Autónoma de Chile, a pioneer in the country with the implementation of a digital fabrication and material experimentation laboratory called "Madlab", which is located in the Center for Technology Transfer of Construction (CTTC). Mariela Reyes, one of the people in charge of Madlab, says: "part of the digital fabrication technology is already implemented in part of the world. Here in Chile we are a little behind, but the 4.0 construction industry is what is in vogue".

Another invention that mixes wood with technology is "Woodflow", a type of digital fabrication that replicates the shapes and orientation of tree fibers, developed by Strong by Form. Andres Mitnik, CEO of the company, points out that what is achieved here is to manufacture engineered wood, with materials that reproduce the shape of wood. In his words he says "(...)In that sense, we could imagine a world made from wood".

This is how we realize the powerful properties of wood and the versatility it manifests itself, even for the development of new technologies involving design, architecture, engineering and construction.


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