Timber Shell System Design, M.Arch, UBC

The first half of my fall design studio focused on the design of a wood shell structural system.  After research into existing wood technologies and different types of shell structures, I decided to develop a shell system that utilized cross laminated timber (CLT) panels.  The panels will be fastened together in a herringbone (or similar pattern that overlaps in both directions) and will work together as a structural shell allowing for spans similar to those achieved by concrete shell structures.


Above: A piece of 1:10 scaled cross laminated timber that I manufactured.

The scaled cross laminated timber was then machined into a double curved panel using a CNC machine.  Each panel manufactured is a different shape based on its location in a shell.   Depending on the design, however, the shell could be optimized to contain a set number of panel shapes that are repeated throughout the shell.


Above: Three of the panels fastened together to explore what the system’s aesthetic qualities of are.


Above: The surface pattern of the CLT panels that is exposed to the interior of the space after machining.  There is the potential to introduce different types of wood that have differing colours and grain characteristics to create a more intricate pattern.


Above: The panels would be connected together with a series of dowels that slide in from the exterior prior to installation of the cladding assembly.


Above: The pre-drilled holes extend from one panel into the other, however the holes do not penetrate the underside of the shell, allowing the exposed interior to remain without visible connections.

The next phase of the design studio is to apply this system to a program and site.