Project Lead: Linda Zimmer and Cory Olsen, UO College of Design

Project Summary: During the testing and fabrication of mass timber projects a natural byproduct inevitably occurs in the form of offcuts and cutouts.  In the case of new mass timber structures, the engineered wood materials are typically fabricated and prepared off site, allowing for the majority of the leftover materials to be made into useful products at the same facility already ideally set up for further digital fabrication.  While the thickness of many of the spare panelized elements under investigation/production at TDI might seem excessive for smaller scale elements, the digital design and production techniques already being used allow for a fine degree of precision commensurate with furniture joinery.  We propose to experiment with designing and fabricating furniture scale components and furniture prototypes as a way to reclaim these otherwise unused timber products. This project captures off cuts and remaindered materials from structural testing at TDI in both CLT and MPP panels. 

Our focus is the design and fabrication of freestanding furnishings (ex: stools, benches, tables, chairs) that will exploit the technologies available at the Emmerson Lab.  We come at this with two perspectives: in the first, products could be made directly from the materials available; in the second, the output will act as a formwork or “jig” to facilitate construction of an entirely new prototype that could expand into additional material languages.  In either case it is important to us to share digital files of prototypes as “open source” designs so that production facilities and design professionals can work together to reduce waste and/or use our designs as a springboard to customize their own pieces. In this way we address the stated program goals to expand and develop new products and building components and to foster markets for these.  Our iterative approach to digital design and digital hybrids utilizes CNC/robotic fabrication and assembly and we will be testing our ideas in a design-build format.