Wood has been one of the most important elements in construction since the beginning of time. We have relied on wood to construct our shelters and protect us from the elements. Often today we only recognize the beauty of wood on the surface when there is so much more to see. We usually only se the grain, color, and finish and associate that with the material when the truth is that wood is a beautiful, rich material that has endless possibilities.
Timber Wave designed by Amanda Levete Architects tests and showcases the limitless potential of wood by using it as sculpture. This sculpture is three stories high and 36 feet in diameter and made from oil-treated American red oak. Using laminating techniques traditionally used in furniture making AL-A and Arup have shown us how striking wood can be and give us the opportunity to truly experience the depth of the material.
This sculpture is successful because it tests and showcases the materials organic capabilities. The curves for the sculpture were designed in Grasshopper and follow a specific set of rules. In addition at the joint the chords are held together by steel plates to act as a reinforcing patch across the joint. With the curves and joints Timber Wave creates a multi-layered wave that rolls up into a curve to invite you into the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This project shows through form that wood needs to be recognized as more than a traditional building material. Through explorations and discovery Timber Wave allows all who enter the museum to fully realize this capability. Timber Waves reminds us as designers that thinking outside of the box does not have to mean coming up with a new material, but instead rethinking and challenging the traditional application for a material.