Led by Leslie Lok & Sasa Zivkovic, HANNAH is a New York based design and research studio which has worked on prestigious projects from furniture to urban-ism. By incorporating precised 3D scanning and robotic based fabrication technology, HANNAH transforms Emerald-Ash-Borer-infested “waste wood” into a cheap and durable building material which is easily available in the region.
The studio has designed a small house called Ashen Cabin consisting 3 x 3 m (10 x 10 ft) interior area which comprises single room, sink, fire place, a multipurpose platform and enough storage space. Its cement concrete foundation has been created through a 3D printer that applies concrete like mixture out of a nozzle in layers to build structure. With using minimum material, the process completed in two weeks.
Hannah’s Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, briefed “The cabin was 3D printed at the Cornell Robotic Construction Laboratory (RCL) using a self-built and open-source large-scale printer,”
“We built the printer at RCL from scratch with a team of students in 2016 and have refined it ever since. We developed a special technique for 3D printing, involving re-usable gravel as a support material for steep cantilevers. This enabled us to 3D print the steep cantilever ‘legs’ of the cabin. We developed our own concrete mixture made from off-the shelf cement and sand that can be purchased in any local hardware store.”
The raw wood used for construction was infected by the insects.According to firm, that kind of wood is not typically considered suitable for use by conventional sawmills for home construction.
“Infested ash trees often either decompose or are burned for energy,” explains Zivkovic. “Unfortunately, both scenarios release CO2 into the atmosphere, and so the advantage to using compromised ash for construction is that is that it both binds the carbon to the earth and offsets the harvesting of more commonly used wood species.”
Zivkovic and the RCL team purchased and modified a robotic arm to prepare wood for that was used by General cars to build cars in past. This robotic arm is sufficient to cut the wood into the required shapes and sizes.
They are working in collaboration with 3D printing and robotic timber to take construction industry at next level. The architects are hopeful that this project will prove to be a milestone towards durable and contemporary home construction.