Published 27 August 2018
The NZ Institute of Building’s charitable trust made 2 scholarship awards at the weekend, each worth $10,000, to 2 Master of Architecture (Professional) students from the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, Emma Fell & Mikayla Heesterman.
The scholarships, first offered last year, were established to recognise, encourage & financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role, who are proposing to pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.
Trust chair Gina Jones said: “These awards were established to encourage aspirational thinking that has the potential to advance the design, construction or management of buildings in New Zealand, and thereby enhance the quality of our built environment.”
3 former institute presidents were on the judging panel – Gina Jones, Bill Porteous & John Jonassen. They reviewed 11 entries.
Emma Fell is researching the design & development of a prefabricated building envelope system for mass timber construction using cross-laminated timber (CLT). The system uses specially designed proprietary joints specific to different types of cladding. Ms Fell proposes to use her award to fund a fullscale prototype using CLT and the building elements necessary to assess the viability of the system. The resultant research has the capability to revolutionise prefabrication in New Zealand.
She said it offered the possibility of offsite fabrication, followed by delivery to the site and quick erection without scaffolding. The optimised design & process could lead to an immense reduction of overall construction time & costs.
Ms Heesterman has been inspired by traditional Japanese timber architecture, which used intricately carved timber-only connections. The judges said such connections were structurally successful & aesthetically beautiful but, as Ms Heesterman noted in her application, their complexity makes them time-consuming & difficult to make.
By using pioneering industrial robotic arm technology, she proposes that it will be possible to fabricate more complex designs than is usually possible with existing woodworking machinery. Traditional timber joints are used as a starting point for the development of new intricate joints that are suitable for modern fabrication & complex largescale timber architecture.
Her study is focused on traditional timber-only (no metal) connections to create new sustainable solutions that can only be produced by robotic milling. The ultimate aim is to produce an accessible database of new construction designs, with relevant structural information for different applications, that can be easily selected, personalised & produced.
Attribution: Institute release.