Brian Havener

log knot
Log Knot was conceived in an option studio advised by Sasa Zivkovic and Christopher Battaglia and executed in collaboration with the Robotic Construction Lab and the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest at Cornell University.

Log Knot investigates a novel method of timber construction; exploiting contemporary modes of digital fabrication and robotics while expanding and optimizing the use of trees in construction. Originally inspired by Noguchi’s stone sculptures, this project analyzes and reconstructs the geometry of the tree as an infinite, three-dimensional loop informed by mathematical topology. This method of construction transforms any preconceived notion of wood and how the material behaves or appears to behave in the traditions of architectural history.

First, fallen timber is processed, 3D scanned, and subdivided into units across its length. Computational solvers locally optimize the structure for bending and tension at each tri-fold mortise and tenon joint. With the aid of a six-axis robotic arm and CNC mill, each joint is fabricated with extreme precision. Due to the unique design of the joint, the structure requires very minimal formwork for assembly.

This procedure has the potential to produce endless variants, while creating virtually no waste in the process. The irregular or forking sections of the tree are used structurally to branch the system and anchor it to the ground. The infinite loop becomes the basis for a new architecture; an architecture capable of producing radical spatial configurations and relationships.

Log Knot was installed in August 2018 and will be exhibited on the Cornell Ag Quad until May 2019.
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