Wood Chip Barn

Spanning 25 x 10 x 8m the Wood Chip Barn’s robotically fabricated arching primary structure is made up of 20 distinct beech forks sourced directly from the surrounding woodland. Through digital design and fabrication methodologies, the inherent form and structural capacity of the naturally formed tree is transferred and exploited directly within an architectural construct. With a capacity of nearly 400m3, the barn enables Hooke Park to process and use it’s own timber for renewable heat production. Through the project we focussed on developing a workflow and the necessary toolkit to use complex pieces of a tree disregarded by conventional forestry and wood building practices.

Having surveyed Hooke Park’s beech compartments, a digital database of 204 potential forked components was established, and from the understanding of material provided, the structural concept developed. Based on the criteria of this structure, 25 forks were harvested from the forest, brought back to the campus and 3D scanned in detail using photogrammetry operations. A bespoke organisation script developed in the Rhino/Grasshopper environment was used to generate a final arrangement of forks in collaboration with our workshop team and engineers from Arup. This digital model was then translated into fabrication information with which the 6-axis robotic arm transformed each fork into a finished component. A precise assembly jig allowed these large components to be precisely pre-assembled in the Big Shed before being transported to site for final assembly.

In addition to press coverage, the Wood Chip Barn has been published as a part of Advances in Architectural Geometry 2016 and Fabricate 2017 in addition to a feature on Dezeen.

Project Film

Film by Pradeep Devadass and Zachary Mollica

Zachary Mollica
Swetha Vegesana
Sahil Shah
Vivian Yang
Mohaimeen Islam

Martin Self (Programme Director)
Jack Draper (Make Tutor)
Charley Brentnall
Toby Burgess (Tutor)

Hooke Park Team
Charlie Corry Wright (Workshop Manager)
Christopher Sadd (Head Forester)
Pradeep Devadass (Robotics Developer)
Edward Coe (Technical Coordinator)

Arup (Engineering)
Tim Halbury (Erection Team)
James Vooght (Erection Team)
UWE/Bristol Robotics Lab (Robotics Support)

Year: 2016