A Resurgence of the Oldest Joining Method — Integral Attachment, the joining of parts through form, rather than additional fasteners is the oldest known joining technique. In timber construction, which is currently seeing a renaissence in architecture, there used to be a rich history of integral joints. Computational Design and Fabrication allows to re-visit elaborate traditional joining techniques. In the construction with linear wood elements such as beams and posts, automatic joinery machines have already repatriated old joining techniques such as mortise-and-tenon joints.
Structural Composite Lumber — Modern engineered wood products such as laminated-veneer-lumber (LVL) combine the sustainability, weight-to-strength ratio, and easy-machining of wood with an orthotropic behaviour and high dimensional stability, making it an ideal material for high-precision, off-site prefabrication. LVL plates provide a high strength even at small plate thicknesses of 20-40mm. Such thin plates are ideal the construction of composite elements like box girders, which require direct joints between the plates. However, the joining of thin timber plates with metal fasteners such as screws is difficult.
New Lightweight Structure Systems — Integral joints, inspired by traditional cabinetmaking, allow for the joining of thin plates. In addition to the strength of these joints, the integration of locator features for a rapid and precise assembly enables the design of new structure systems with multiple layers of thin plates, such as Double-layered Folded Surface Structures or Double-layered Segmental Plate Shell Structures.