Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Digital Carpenter: An Exploration In Manufacturing Complex Timber Structures Through Digital Design Techniques

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posted on 2021-09-23, 23:59 authored by Hensel, David

Using digital design and fabrication methods, can a bespoke visual timber spaceframe be feasibly constructed to allow greater choice in architectural freedom?

At present, three-dimensional timber spaceframes are often not feasible as an architectural solution, as the end conditions are quite complex. The result of these complex situations is that they are not time or cost-effective when constructed by hand.

Subsequently, architects and designers tend not to frequently use these trusses as an expressive structural member over steel and concrete alternatives.

The fourth industrial revolution is making massive technological advancements in bringing together the digital realm and the physical.

Architecture and the building industry as a whole are making steps towards harnessing some of these new technologies. However, there is far more that can be explored with what is already available.

Robotic fabrication brings with it the ability to automate specific tasks with an incredibly high tolerance of precision, allowing for the potential methods of construction, craft, and customisation that have previously been difficult, slow, and ultimately not cost-effective enough to pursue.

This thesis sets out on the premise that designing through DFMA (Design For Manufacturing and Assembly), the precision of robotic fabrication could be used to make these complex end conditions and assembly of these timber structures much faster, and therefore more feasible as an architectural solution.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-NC 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Marriage, Guy; Warrander, Jae