Engineered TimberTimber ConstructionWoodworkingFree-form Timber Design

This is a serious heading with lots of tongue-tying adjectives. But what is it? A photo is worth a thousand words, and when you look at Bunjil Place in Australia, you can see why I believe Hess Timber is the forerunner of the curved free-form timber craft in the world.

But let’s get back to the heading. The Oxford Dictionary says “free-form” means NOT conforming to a regular structure or shape, an apt description for irregular or asymmetrical shapes in timber construction.

Free-form timber structures are a series of glue-laminated timber curved shapes that are two dimensional in form and joined to produce a three-dimensional shape or form. Each curved shape must link perfectly to its attached shape to allow the curved lines to flow. Free-form glue laminated furniture has been around for a while, driven by digital advances in 3D computer design programs and 5-axis CNC manufacturing technologies.

However, it is a relatively novel yet growing field in mass timber construction, backed by little academic research.

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