The aim of this project was to develop a sustainable building system, which uses repetition and symmetry to produce a large scale structure. To begin the development process, inspiration was taken from crystal structures to form a panel system with an infinite array.

A rectangular lattice can be simply formed by slotting together regular panels. By interchanging the direction of alternate panels, a continuous standing structure can be formed.

Furthermore, investigating the different possible scales the panel systems can be used for, and the dimensions which would be needed to achieve different forms, lead to the exploration of using different sized panels in the same system.

To design a system which works in many different scales, it become prudent, the test the system with a variety of plywood.

Plywood tests for every possible combination of plywood thickness between 0.8mm to 18mm were conducted, with the intention to design a proposal where the plywood thickness to increase with size of each panels.

For precision to be achieve, a laser cutter and CNC machine are required. This lead to the discovery of some rules:

  • Laser cutting plywood is restricted for use on 0.8mm, 1.5mm and 4mm thickness.
  • The 3mm drill bit on in CNC cutter, is limited to cut plywood sheets with thickness of 9mm, or smaller.
  • The 6mm drill bit on in CNC cutter, is limited to cut gaps, no smaller than 6.1mm and sheets with thickness no greater than 9mm.

Plywood connection test results20190123_193819

To scale up the system even further, the use of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) has been explored.

In construction, CLT is prefabricated to fit together making to very easy to construct, therefore very time efficient. Similarly, the panel system being designed requires these properties.


In order to increase the stability of the overall system, a panel which fits in the z-axis, has been introduced to the system. This is achieved by extending a further slot in the panel on the x-axis, for the new panel can be slotted in without, changing how the system previously fit together.

Additionally, this third panel will then rest on the panels directly below it, to create a ‘floor’ level.

Addition of z-axis (floor) panel

Following the plywood tolerance tests, a slightly differing system for panels to slot together has been develop, to work for the more delicate, thinner plywood. The result is a lattice structure which, seems to be work effectively as a grille, or light filtering device, and therefore would work well positioned at a high level in the final proposal.

Roof system

The process of construction the large scale model included time using the laser cutter and CNC machine, as well as many manual construction hours. The entire process lasted approximately 10 days, including the preparation of files to upload to the cutting machines.

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The result is a large (2.3m tall, 1.8mm width and depth), made entirely of timber panels which intercept each other to form an arrayed construction using repeated elements, with no additional fixtures required. The structure was built to allow uses to enter into it the look above to the roof system.

full model

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