Reciprocal Structures

Reciprocal Structures

Workshop result 1

1:1 mock up – saddle surface based on a reciprocal frame

The elective course on digital woodwork aimed at the development of an innovative construction, based on self-supporting, reciprocal systems.

The reciprocal frame is a roof structure where each beam both supports and is supported by other beams in the roof structure. A minimum of 3 beams is required to create a reciprocal frame roof. As each beam supports the next in a reciprocal manner no internal support structure is required.  Only the outer end of each beam requires support, which will normally be a post used for the wall or the foundation.

From digital Model to physical result

digital model vs. physical prototype

Throughout the last years we have already seen promising advancements and applications in digital woodwork, such as CNC-technology and robotic manufacturing. Hence, the Master students took a closer look at the computational processes introduced to gain an in-depth understanding of the conditions and constraints as a starting point for their own design strategy. The four-day intensive program included both computational form-finding strategies in the design process as well as construction principles and digital fabrication technologies for the 1:1 realization of a reciprocal roof structure. Michael Knauß, founding partner of Zurich based office ROK and expert in digital fabrication, conducted the workshop during the Detmolder Räume (Detmold Spaces), a creative week of experimentation in interdisciplinary work on our campus.

Assembly of the structure

assembly of the structure

Teamwork is a must

teamwork is a must

Workshop result in scale 1:1

workshop result 1

Workshop result 2

workshop result 2


Michael Knauß (ROK), Prof. Marco Hemmerling, David Lemberski, Guido Brand


Kaveh Allahdin, Eduard Benke, Larina Faßler, Lars Frenz, Tal Friedman, Jennifer Hilbert, Jan C. Kahre Heidemann, Linda Kirsten, Julian Lianarachchi, Vera Nolte, Henrik Steffen, Felix Stiboy, Ghaith Tish, Martin Trittin, Muralimanoj Varadharajan, Jirka Wolff