Students exhibit in Dutch UNESCO monastery

Digital thatching receives international attention

The Spine is an unusual architectural work with a performative and engaging nature. It illustrates and discusses the potentials of using history as a catalyst and transforms the traditional craft of thatching into a computer-based fabrication process.

The project was developed by students who constructed The Spine from artificial straw and programmed the school’s six-axis robot to do the threading.

The Spine was first exhibited at Milan Design Week 2016 where it received massive attention. The students from Studio 2B and teachers Jan Buthke and Robert Trempe have since developed the structure further and were recently invited to exhibit The Spine in the Dutch UNESCO monastery, Klooster Ter Apel.

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Students from Aarhus School of Architecture assemble The Spine in the monastery. Photo credit: Novariet.

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The disassembled parts of The Spine. Photo credit: Novariet.

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Architecture student Mads Hundahl talks about The Spine and the fabrication process at a seminar on Danish architecture at the monastery. Photo credit: Novariet.

An artistic take on artificial straw

The work with The Spine was made possible because of a strong cooperation between the school and the Dutch company Novariet who produce artificial straw for e.g. thatching.

The straw offered the students an opportunity to combine robot technology with material knowledge and explore the possibilities of artificial building materials as well as digital fabrication.

The students have investigated the spatial and aesthetic potentials of artificial straw when introduced into a computational design and fabrication pipeline. They have examined the strong relationship between material quality and a specific design method, and how this can lead to unexpected spatial and aesthetic dimensions.

The exhibition at Klooster Ter Apel

Klooster Ter Apel has undergone a renovation and extension designed by Danish architectural firm Exners Tegnestue (today E+N).

The exhibition of The Spine opened with a seminar about current Danish architecture at the monastery.  At the seminar, the students presented their work alongside keynote lecturers Jesper Back from E+N and Anders Lonka from ADEPT.

Along with the final construction of The Spine, the exhibition presents tools, prototypes, material tests etc. and offers an insight into the development process. The exhibition is open until 8 March.

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The Spine at dusk. Photo credit: Novariet.




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Exhibition of prototypes and artificial straw. Photo credit: Novariet.