Timber Reimagined

Date: 2023.12 – Ongoing 
Location: Marfa, Texas 
Client: Undisclosed
Status: Schematic Design
Type: Art Studio

The architectural design of this art studio, nestled in the vastness of the Texas desert, represents an exploration of timber construction techniques, blending tradition with innovation. This project is not merely a building; it is a bold reinterpretation of timber framing, an art form deeply ingrained in American architectural heritage, now reimagined through the lens of contemporary computational methods.

At its core, timber framing is a craft steeped in history, characterized by the assembly of a wooden skeleton joined by time-honored techniques like pegged mortice and tenon joints. In this project, we honor this legacy while simultaneously propelling it into the future. We employ a fusion of traditional materials—stud frames, cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, and oriented strand board (OSB) panels—each selected for their unique properties and redefined through computational design processes. These methodologies enable us to simulate and optimize timber frame behaviors, structures, configurations, and functions, thus bridging the gap between historical craftsmanship and contemporary innovation.

A distinctive feature of our approach is the transformation of stud framing, a component traditionally hidden within walls, into a prominent external element. This radical design choice challenges conventional norms, both aesthetic and structural, by celebrating the raw beauty and inherent strength of the material. It encourages a reevaluation of the components that have silently shaped the landscapes of American architecture.

The project's location in Marfa's arid desert climate further necessitates an innovative approach. The use of CLT and OSB, both modern advancements in timber technology, offers enhanced sustainability and efficiency, echoing the environment's unique demands. These materials, coupled with our computationally driven design strategies, result in a structure that is not only an artistic workspace but also a living exhibition, narrating the evolution of timber in construction.

This art studio is a dialogue between the past and the present, a testament to timber's versatility and timelessness in architecture. It showcases how the marriage of traditional timber framing techniques with the latest in computational design and material innovation can forge a new path in architectural expression and construction methodologies.

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