Image from Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Sourced at https://gramaziokohler.arch.ethz.ch/web/e/forschung/221.html
Image from Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Sourced at https://gramaziokohler.arch.ethz.ch/web/e/lehre/199.html
Image from Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Sourced at https://gramaziokohler.arch.ethz.ch/web/e/lehre/219.html

Laminated Sheet Assemblies

Sub-Category:
Research
Category:
Experimental
Index:
50
Start Date:
2015
End Date:
2018
Role:
PI Principal Investigator
Concept:
planar articulations
Duration (weeks):
178
No of Designs or Design Iterations:
1
No of Collaborators:
1
No of Students:
0
External Website:
Award | Exhibition:
Poster presentation of Lamination Assemblies
2016
Best Poster Award – 2nd Prize
2016
A Parametric Design Approach to Wood Construction, Joinery, and Hybrid
2017
Proceedings for the Green Initiative Week in Indonesia
Full paper and presentation
Host: Archi-Depot Corporation, Tokyo, Japan
Re-imagining Wood
2018
Invited presentation
Re‐inventing Wood: Digitally Informed Construction
2018
Abstract and presentation
Curved Bending and Stitching of Wood Panels
2018
Abstract and presentation
Build Eco Xpo (BEX) Asia - ASD Exhibition
2018
Design, curatorial work, execution planning, with student helpers, Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre
SUTD Open House 2017
2017
Design, curatorial work, execution planning and coordination of contractors, with Anna Toh Hui Ping
Tectonic Systems for Tropical Timber
2018
Architecture Technique
Journal article (sole author)
Architecture Technique
ISSN: 1674-6635
Wood on the Rise: A Speculative Approach to Timber Construction and Joinery in Southeast Asia
2019
Book chapter (sole author)
0
ISBN 978-3-0356-1706-1
Editors: Hudert, M. and Pfeiffer, S
Birkhaeuser; pp 46-55
Introduction and Background

The explorations started with a curiosity in layering sheet material: a strictly additive assembly process that could potentially serve as a conceptual translation of 3d printing into full scale construction. Particularly wood panels are conventionally composed of several layers of thinner material, only to be cut again in the assembly process in order to be joined with other panels. The investigations in laminated surfaces are driven by the motivation to explore new functional and creative potentials, and to take advantage of the emerging lightweight and spatial components for the application as building skins. The structural performance can eliminate usual limitation in dimensions between load bearing members, and the spatial properties can provide for an integration of diverse functions into the skin.

Lamination is used to manufacture elements in multiple layers so that the composite resultant material achieves the desired balance of strength, stability, sound or thermal insulation, and appearance from a tailored combination of different materials. One of the most widely used laminates is plywood - a sheet material produced by gluing and pressing thin layers of wood veneer. The two aspects of the technique that govern the strength and stiffness of the end product are the number of veneer layers in the ply and the orientation of grains within each layer. The grains are orientated perpendicular or at an angle with respect to each other and layers are glued in odd numbers providing enhanced strength. Since the invention of plywood in the late eighteenth century, when the main applications were in shipping industry, the technology has expanded exponentially both in the fabrication techniques (with the recent progress in CAD/CAM tools) and in the diverse fields of applications. Other sheet materials such as metal sheets and composite materials have further varied and significant uses range still from shipping to aeronautical, automobile, and construction industries. A growing current interest in the process of lamination to develop unconventional materials is evident in the recent research, aiming for composite materials and recycled elements, such as heat pressure lamination technique to fabricate flat panels from recycled polyethylene-foil or shopping bags.

State of the art

While the concept of bending/curving layers in laminates is explored intelligently (both for strengthened structure and innovative design) in recent timber products like Corruven or CoreLam, both taking advantage of a corrugated core layer and developed by Canadian companies. The latter was translated into furniture design objects by Benjamin Hubert. Some of the few other examples of design explorations that follow related concepts include the ‘Enignum II’ Table by Joseph Walsh and the ‘Flow’ chair by Cheng-Tsung Feng and Kao-Min Chen. Besides furniture design it is noteworthy to include preliminary approaches in fashion design. An outstanding example is the ‘A-POC’ (A piece of cloth) project by Issey Miyake, which explores 3-dimensional attire formations by stitching and cutting through a continuous multilayered fabric. The project is particularly stimulating for its investigations in art and craftsmanship in addition to adopting the minimal waste approach (no figures due to copyright restrictions: please follow the provided links in the text for illustrations). This research on laminated surfaces goes beyond the uniformity of these products and adds another layer of complexity through the introduction of dynamic hierarchies in the layers. The unique advantage of creating 3-dimensional morphologies from 2-dimensional sheets, through least wastage makes the differentiated lamination of sheet materials significantly more optimised and an economical choice of construction material. Apart from sheet materials having the advantages of ease of transport and fabrication (through laser cutting/ water jet cutting using flat-bed) in comparison to other construction materials (such as solid timber, steel tubes, cables etc), these sheets also display bending and curving behaviour that can be used specifically to shape and strengthen the construction.

Hypothesis

The goal of the research is to develop laminated sheet assemblies with enhanced structural performance (in addition to variation in characteristics like sound and heat insulation), by ontrolling the strength and stability of the composite result through modulation in bending curvature and joinery of layers. This proposal exceeds the existing conventional bending/curving and pressing techniques of construction and fabrication of laminates by incorporating design needs into the material system for producing efficient morphologies. It explores new concepts of lamination such as dynamic hierarchical layering through initial formal experimentation as part of a design studio and then focussed computational explorations and evaluation through physical experiments. The progressive design iterations focus on operative reciprocity between design and fabrication, in an investigative process of crafting skins.

Methodology

The investigations have been conducted in two parallel strands. The explorations of concurrent design research studios have been integrated in the research and offered a variety of speculative approaches that will be summarised here. The following chapters will focus on the empirical research into the lamination of sheet materials to design self-supportive structural surfaces with potentially varied architectural applications. The methodological aspects of design processes with the integration of physical experimentation and parametric tools, bridging the

prevailing segregation of design, planning and building will be briefly outlined. The primary motivation for this research is derived from (but is not limited to) timber production processes, and the manufacturing of plywood from layers of veneer. The research also investigates metal sheet materials like aluminium in the context of layering and lamination processes. A future expansion of the research will include composite materials, where the use of renewable and recyclable materials will be of particular interest. At the current stage the experiments highlight two specific aspects of lamination – structural performance and spatial characteristics; both are studied in the context of potential architectural applications.

Text fragments from a paper originally published at the Association of Architectural Educators (aae) conference, an international peer-reviewed conference on ‘research based education’ hosted by The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, UCL, UK,7-9 April 2016

Collaborators:
Dishita Turakhia
Students:
No items found.
Images (c) Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Images (c) Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Images (c) Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Publications:
Publications:
pdf file download:
eth-49664-01.pdf
Publications:
pdf file download:
eth-49662-01_compressed.pdf
Publications:
Part 1 download pdf: 
eth-49663-01_compressed_01.pdf
Part 2 download pdf: 
eth-49663-01_compressed_02.pdf
External Website:
Collaborators:
Dishita Turakhia
Students: