Articulated Timber Ground

Articulated Timber Ground is a public pavilion designed and built by a group of Master in Architecture students at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The studio is led by Paul Loh and David Leggett (Power to Make). The pavilion is located next to the newly completed Melbourne School of Design by John Wardle Architects and NADAAA.

The pavilion explores the relationship between ground and envelope; morphing the two together. It forms an intimate enclosure where students can gather together for intimate meetings and gathering. The pavilion acts as a piece of public furniture challenging the users to define how they occupy space. The ruled surface structure is designed to responses to the ergonomic of the body.

Consisting of 1,752 components, the pavilion changes its form throughout the sections, capturing the various human positions from seating to lounge position. The pavilion is designed to respond to the subtle ergonomic movement of the body through an innovative joint system which uses industrial rubber within the joint to act as a buffer. This allows the joint to bounce back and react to the user’s weight.

The joint was load tested to destruction at the University’s Engineering Department and has proven to be stable for furniture use. In addition, a specially designed washer joint allows movement across the entire surface creating a network effect. The design of the pavilion is a result of two rounds of design competition held by the studio. By the end of six weeks, the final design was selected and all 14 students joined forces to detail and construct the pavilion.

The pavilion engages with a number of architecture topics. Firstly, it examines making as pedagogy; where tacit knowledge and material experimentation can lead to design opportunities. Second, the design of the pavilion is a complex relationship between structural, material, fabrication and ergonomic constraints. Lastly, it’s a research concerning how we practice contemporary architecture using digital technology; the workflow has evolved to enable digital design to production.

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