Dougong Canopy


Our team agreed that we liked the aesthetic of the Japanese stacked beam systems and would like to reflect that in our first pass of the pavilion design. I thought that a combination of the stacked beams with thin cluster columns (that are braced around their midpoint) might make for an interesting pavilion that feels lightweight but is also structurally sound.


The canopy design was built to cover a 25’ square area. This is supported by a cluster of (4) 4”x4” columns and additional 4”x4” columns at the corners. All the connections can be hidden from view.

The design isn’t entirely successful, as we did not anticipate how quickly the stacked members would pile on top one another. However, the exercise was a good way to experiment with the Japanese bracketing tactic.

Dougong Canopy Design

Multiples + Lightness

There is something wonderful about the irony that more members can often lend themselves to a structure’s light and delicate feel. Big, beefy structural beams and columns convey a sense of strength and groundedness, but many, many thin members linked together carry just as much power while still appearing to seem rather light. I was inspired by the Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum that was show in the class lecture, and searched for other projects that accomplished similar feats.


Pictured above is the Mine Pavilion, a five-story structure meant to contrast the dark, claustrophobic spaces of poor miners’ working conditions. The structure is accomplished with square modules that gradually step back as they move upwards. The structure works like the cluster columns discussed in the class lectures, bracing the structure through the connections in each member.

Looking forward, my goals for this class is to not only use timber as a heavyweight structural material, but to look to connections between multiple members to stay true to its roots (so to speak), whereas stick framing has been used throughout history.