Wood Chip Barn

A robotically fabricated barn to provide long-term storage for wood chip to fuel the Biomass Boiler House. With a storage capacity of 400m3, the barn will enable the Hooke Park estate to process and use it’s own timber for renewable heat production. The barn’s arching structure - the ‘Tree Fork Truss’ – is made up of 20 distinct beech forks directly sourced from the surrounding woodland. The inherent form and structural capacity of the natural tree is transferred and exploited.

Having surveyed Hooke Park’s beech compartments, a database of potential forked components was established, and from it, the structural concept was developed. Based on the criteria of this structure, 25 forks were harvested from the forest, brought back to the campus and scanned in 3D. An organization script was used to generate a final arrangement of forks in collaboration with engineers from Arup. This digital model was then translated into fabrication information with which Hooke Park’s new robotic arm transformed each fork into a finished component. After being pre-assembled in Hooke Park’s Big Shed, the building’s pieces were assembled on site.

The Tree Fork Truss has been published as a part of Advances in Architectural Geometry 2016 and Fabricate 2017.

Featured on Dezeen.

Completed: 2016

Students: Zachary Mollica, Swetha Vegesana, Sahil Shah, Vivian Yang, Mohaimeen Islam

Tutors: Martin Self, Emmanuel Vercruysse, Charley Brentnall, Toby Burgess

With: Jack Draper (Project Coordination), Pradeep Devadass (Robotic Developer), Arup (Engineering)