Tooled: An Exploration of Craft, the Tool and Emergent Trends in Wooden Architecture
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Throughout all cultures and histories, we are linked by our need and desire to build. We construct homes and shelters, community buildings for meeting, storage and commerce as well as monuments to governments and gods. We have progressed from humble beginnings in vernacular dwellings to the complex edifices we dwell within today. Throughout history we have built with the materials that were available to us and that were made workable with the tools at hand. Wood has always been an obvious choice in communities and cultures where it was abundant. With an understanding of it’s basic material characteristics, pieces of wood can be worked with only the hands and body by stacking, breaking, bending or weaving it to shape a desired form. With the aid of the most basic of tools, wood can easily be transformed into more complex and beautiful structures that are expressive of its material properties and the processes that shaped them. The tools we have used to manipulate wood as a material for construction have evolved dramatically since early civilizations first began to build. Each of these revisions, or additions, to the builder’s toolkit have resulted in changes to the shape of wooden buildings and the wooden connections that make them possible. From tools of stone and bone, to technological advances and refinements of tools of iron and steel, the evolution of our toolkit has historically marked changes in what we build and how we build it. In recent history, the implementation of computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software as well as computer aided manufacturing (CAM) has driven dramatic changes to wooden building shapes and assemblies. Changes to the tools we use to fabricate the elements of wooden buildings have enabled new building shapes to emerge, changed how we view wood as a material, and made building with heavy timber economical again. Understanding the evolution of wooden construction as it relates to the tools available to architects and builders is an essential part of understanding how to leverage new developments in wood technologies, re-interpret wooden joinery and traditional building methods and build more often and more expressively with wood.
- Architecture