Housing Prototypes, Timber Tectonic Culture and the Digital Age

  • Colabella SofiaEmail author
  • Gardiner Blair
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


Arguably the balloon frame exemplifies the commencement of the embedment of structural performance within timber construction standardisation and a system innovation responding to socio-technical issues in domestic construction. Three recent residential architecture prototypes which embrace digital design to fabrication are discussed as continuing this tradition. Held as exemplars of the capacity potential of digital design to file-to-factory these projects offer an opportunity to reflect on questions related to material culture, the social networks of construction and the boundaries between architecture, structure, materials, and construction. This chapter raises a series of discussion points centred around the role of timber-based products, in a digitally enabled domestic construction industry.


Housing prototypes Digital design Timber innovation Digital fabrication Tectonic culture CAD/CAM 



The catalyst for much of the thoughts outlined in this article arose through numerous discussions with our colleagues at the University of Melbourne, Prof. Paolo Tombesi has been a feature of many of these conversations, for which we are appreciative. Some of the information on ‘Burst’ House*003 and *008 are gathered from a research project on the industrial potential of digital fabrication technologies commenced by the late University of Melbourne academic, Professor Bharat Dave, and concluded by Paolo Tombesi—chief investigator, Blair Gardiner—investigator, Sofia Colabella—research assistant; (Tombesi et al. 2016).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture, Building and PlanningMelbourne School of DesignParkvilleAustralia

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