The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Post-tensioned Wood
The contemporary adoption of integrated CAD/CAM design and fabrication methodologies has led to a formal expressions of variable curvature in architecture. To date, when these forms have been developed in wood they have followed two methods. They have relied on multiple unique glue laminated members, or they have relied on a grid shell or space frame of many unique parts. We propose to develop a novel structural system of transversally post-tensioned heavy timber capable of a broad range of formal possibilities while taking advantage of previously underutilized timber resources. This project has 5 phases –

Phase 1: Determine suitable post-tensioning hardware and tendon material

Phase 2: Establish suitable ‘keyway’ geometry between timbers

Phase 3: Determine the feasible range of variation in sectional geometry of timbers

Phase 4: Map CAD/CAM processes and identify software workflow and interoperability issues

Phase 5: Test and resolve the above objectives via the construction of multiple full-scale prototypes

Project Investigator: Ryan E. Smith, Director ITAC
Co-PI: Ben Hagenhofer-Daniell
Researcher: Zahra Ghorbani

US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

Industry Support:
Euclid Timber, LLC, Heber, Utah