Reinterpretation of Traditional Wood Structures with Digital Design and Fabrication Technologies

  • Philip F. YuanEmail author
  • Hua Chai
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


While digital design and fabrication technology has strongly promoted the innovation of wooden architecture from different aspects, they have also provided us with a new perspective to re-examine traditional wood structures. In the digital wood researches of DDRC, Tongji University, traditional culture has often played an important role. Both the culture of Chinese traditional wood architecture and western structure systems have become the source of inspiration. This paper presents two research projects that reinterpret traditional wood structures through experimental construction of large scale prototypes. “REVERSE RAFTER” demonstrates the possibility of simulating and reinterpreting Chinese traditional wood tectonics with structural performance based-design and digital fabrication technology, while “DigitalFUTURE 2017 gridshell” showing an approach for extend gridshell system of the west into more complex application. By putting digital technologies under the context of wood culture, reinterpretation of traditional wood structures has the potential to continuously provide inspiration and resources for innovative wood architecture practice.


Reinterpretation Traditional wood structure Structural performance Digital fabrication 



This research is funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.51578378), National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No.2016YFC0702104), Sino-German Center (Grant No.GZ1162), and Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (Grant No.16dz1206502, Grant No.16dz2250500, and Grant No.17dz1203405).

Part of the text and images presented in this paper were modified from two previously published papers in the proceeding of CAADRIA 2015 and CAADRIA 2018. See:

Yuan and Chai (2015).

Yuan et al. (2018).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Architecture and Urban PlanningTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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