Winner: Small Project Award
The TWIST is a design and construction project developed by the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme (EmTech) at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and built at Timber Expo 2015. It seeks to gain full control of the bending and twisting behaviour of plywood, exploiting the anisotropic properties of plywood to achieve a material system capable of producing articulated surfaces by the orientation of its elements.
The system is primarily composed of two plywood strip elements: the ribs and the wings. The former are planar arcs, which serve primarily a structural function, and are CNC-milled from 6mm plywood sheets to obtain the desired profiles with the grain direction oriented for high longitudinal stiffness. The latter are 4mm thick, 120mm wide straight strips, with the grain perpendicular to its the length. These are connected to the rib elements at specific angles and distances in order to obtain both bending and twisting. The rib elements essentially work as a means to trigger the inherent physical properties of the thin wings, creating characteristic sinusoidal curves on the surface.
A sub-system of combs and perpendiculars runs along the free edges of the articulated surface, locking the geometry in place. The comb elements are milled specifically to define the angle at which a rib strikes a comb.
The judges said: ‘It shows an interesting new direction for timber, demonstrating the possibilities of using wood in a very beautiful and efficient way.’
Location Timber Expo 2015
Architects Emergent Technologies and Design, Architectural Association
Structural engineers Emergent Technologies and Design, Architectural Association
Main contractors/builders Emergent Technologies and Design, Architectural Association
Wood supplier Hanson Plywood
Sponsors TRADA, Hanson Plywood
Wood species birch plywood