Artist in Wood Structures

by Kneeland A. Godfrey, Jr., Sr. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 10, Pg. 78-81

Document Type: Feature article


Julius Natterer is chairman on the Institute for Wood Structures at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and designer of more unusual or unique wood structures than anyone else in Western Europe in recent years. In this interview he describes the greater than usual attention he lavishes on his designs to the extent that he makes no money on his wood structures. He takes concrete jobs in order to subsidize wood design and research. Natterer focuses on details, both because if incorrectly designed, they can lead to structural failure, and if creatively designed, they can be beautiful. Three innovative details are Natterer's signature�steel plate sandwiched between wood, use of hardwood plywood at details where conventional wood would crush, and use at such locations of steel bolts epoxied into holes drilled into the timber. Five of Natterer's wood structures are described and pictured, the most notable being the 260 ft. span hanging timber roof covering Vienna's refuse recycling building. Each of its 48 33 ft. long timber ribs was designed for a 72 ton tensile load.

Subject Headings: Wood structures | Wood and wood products | Tensile strength | Structural failures | Steel plates | Sandwich panels | Roofs

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