ELEMENTerial – Construction System Study for CLT Offcuts


  • Siim Tuksam Estonian Academy of Arts
  • Sille Pihlak




algorithmic design, CLT offcuts, modular construction, upcycling, timber prefabrication, circular design


The ELEMENTerial research project focuses on the development of an innovative design and construction system for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) offcuts. CLT construction, while offering advantages for automation, raises concerns about offcut waste, which constitute 5-10% of the material production in Estonian CLT timber industry. This research highlights the importance of aligning timber construction with circular economy principles by effectively utilising offcuts. The study focuses on the development of a design method, creating a versatile and holistic construction system that breaks away from traditional orthogonal designs. Algorithmic tools are employed to streamline the design process and to help manage the complexities of working with smaller elements. The outcomes include a geometric strategy, offering variable configurations for assembly in walls, floors, ceilings and openings. The research demonstrates the potential to automate and pre-rationalise the design process, providing design freedom beyond orthogonal constraints and shell structures. The applications range from shelters to facade systems, building extensions to potentially large-scale construction systems. This study offers environmental benefits and design flexibility in the construction industry. It holds a potential to guide the sector towards reduced waste and increased material efficiency, fostering sustainability and economic value from waste materials. The prospects for future research include further automation, refinement of connection details, and efficiency in production and material usage.