Sold in standard 4 foot wide sheets since 1928, plywood has been a staple of conventional construction for nearly a century. Dimensionally strong, easily cut, lightweight and capable of creating an effective barrier, plywood and other engineered panels like OSB, particle board, and MDF is ubiquitous, particularly for their use as sheathing material in balloon and timber frame construction systems. Boats, airplanes and even automobile frames have historically been built out of plywood, predating (or replacing) steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. As a simple material capable of being manipulated and shaped in a wide variety of ways, sheet ply was also favored in furniture and architectural designs by modernists including Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, and Marcel Breuer.
Plywood: The Latest Architecture and News
Architects Create Affordable "Exoskeleton" Pavilion With Modular Woods, Tie Straps and Sliding Joints
"Exoskeleton" is a pavilion that shows how Computer Aided Manufacturing can create rapid prototypes. This manufacturing process allows for real-scale construction and experimentation with limited resources.
In this project, a system of modules, designed with different dimensions, is put together with simple joints without nails or screws. This allows for different surfaces to be formed and for the pieces to be rotated and assembled at various angles and heights.
Out of 200 applicants, London-based Gilles Retsin Architecture won the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2017 competition with their temporary outdoor installation. Participants were challenged to use the fabrication abilities of Estonian wooden house manufacturers in a new and creative way. Jury member Martin Tamke said the Retsin proposal is, “characterized by outstanding aesthetic and intellectually challenging, as it questions current beliefs and trends in architecture."
Ten third-year furniture design students from Finland's Lahti University of Applied Sciences - Institute of Design, created temporary living solutions using only plywood and corrugated cardboard. Low cost, quick and easy fabrication, with no tools necessary: Rehome is a solution for recent catastrophes, such as natural disasters and the ongoing refugee crisis, which leave many people displaced from their homes.
Open Source Plan for a Modular Urban Gardening Structure Offers a Flexible Design for Locally Grown Food
As a response to the fast-paced city life, GrowMore is an urban gardening modular design with endless configurations to suit even the most unexpected of spaces. Designed by Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum, the modular building kit provides an opportunity for social interaction and locally grown vegetation, reminding people to pause and connect with nature.
Furniture and design retailer XTRA's new flagship store in Singapore's Marina Square includes a Herman Miller "Shop-in-Shop" that draws inspiration from the furniture it showcases. Encircling the space is a 20-meter arched structure that, from a distance, gives the appearance of tufted fabric pulled taught over a frame. But in fact, this structure is built from a plywood "skin" that designer Pan Yicheng of PRODUCE Workshop has dubbed "fabricwood."
In this video, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern demonstrates how to build a sleek, contemporary spiral staircase using just a standard schedule steel post, plywood and a CNC router (along with a healthy amount of wood and construction glue). To build the staircase, Uyeda uses the CNC to cut out 12 shapes of incremental size from a plywood sheet, which he then stacks and fits around the post to secure into place.
HomeMade Modern has also made the CAD files available for free, so handy woodworking types can attempt the construction themselves.
Pro-Form Architects has created Rolled Table, an information booth made of flexible plywood that challenges the standard form of a table. Created for the Water and Land Niigata Art Festival, which has been held every three years since 2009, Rolled Table displays guide books and pamphlets better than an average table due to its distinct curvature and lighting system.
Given a cavernous gallery space at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo, artist Henrique Oliveira has created Transarquitetônica, a breathtaking installation from plywood, which fills the room with twisted tree roots large enough for gallery visitors to walk inside.
Read on after the break for more images of the installation, including photos of its construction
Have you ever wanted to create delicate, complex shapes from plywood, but can't because it's too stiff and unforgiving? Well all that might soon change, thanks to Milan-based design studio MammaFotogramma. They have created a type of flexible, 'Woodskin' triangular tiles of russian plywood.
Read more about Woodskin after the break...
A team of graduate students recently created a temporary installation on the Kent State University, Kent campus in Ohio. The project grew out of an internal challenge in the matR design competition. Designed by graduate students Brian Thoma, Carl, Veith, Victoria, Capranica, Matt Veith, and Griffin Morris, the tunnel-like structure called “The Passage” was a study to support the conceptualization and actualization of innovative and experimental material research. The students created the initial form in Rhinoceros with a couple Grasshopper definitions as a waffle structure of 26 vertical ribs and 24 horizontal struts. More images and information after the break.