Wooden Temple

This project focused on re-thinking wood in traditional construction. Traditional timber architecture in East Asia has been built with the column, beam, and strut systems with limited lengths of wood. The project began with the challenge; of how to cover a building with a wide-span structure while achieving a beauty that comes from the use of primitive material shown in traditional timber architecture. While The invention of engineered wood could have provided an easy structural solution, the project instead focused on finding an alternative way to maximize the natural properties of wood by proposing an innovative timber roof system.

The project was inspired by woodworking techniques often found in East Asian traditional architecture. The inspiration was developed into a reciprocal frame in which four linear members with a length of 3.6m rely on each other to transfer loads. The lab-joint technique was used to connect each member. The posts, which are vertical members for connecting the reciprocal structure and the rafters, have different lengths according to the slope and shape of the roof. The connection between the post and rafter was designed using bamboo pipes that function similarly to the purlin. The completed roof structure distributes the load to the ground through the branch-shaped pillars. Designed to cover the main sanctuary of a Buddhist temple, the roof can accommodate up to 90 people below the structure.

The roof of this project was designed using Rhino and grasshopper, which was an essential choice for designing a roof structure with complex geometry. Digital tools helped to visualize the simply-shaped building with complex structural systems within its envelope, and the mathematical logic behind modules explored in the grasshopper helped minimize errors at the fabrication stage.

Author: Namhyuck Ahn

Year: 2012 (Unbuilt)

Description: Graduation Project, Hanyang University

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