Structural Design and Timber Engineering
The two all-embracing topics in the study course and applied research dealt with by the team of the Department of “Structural Design and Timber Engineering” are the planning of bearing structures in a variety of materials, and timber engineering. The Department has formulated its overriding aim in research as the integration of the natural building material of wood into the building industry’s contemporary requirements.
The academic staff consists of an interdisciplinary team of architects and civil engineers, some of whom in part work parallel in various areas of professional practice. The diverse issues encountered during their professional activities flow into the Department’s work.
In the charged field between the polarities of architecture and civil engineering the Department, with the two main study courses “Bearing Structure Theory for Architects” and “Timber Construction for Architects and Civil Engineers”, acts as a bridge between the two faculties of building science at the TU Wien. The Department provides its own Master module on the themes “Structure Logics” and “Resource-efficient Materialisation”. At the same time, students of civil engineering are supervised in the compulsory subject of timber construction.
The Master’s architecture degree course in the Department includes design and modules, also the construction-oriented course in the field of architecture in steel and timber construction – which is also on the curriculum of the civil engineering course. The engagement with these subjects is directed towards an academic examination of the usage potential of renewable raw materials in combination with optimised synthetic materials specifically for dense-packed urban building, and to implement this in pilot projects. In support, a career opportunity facility was set up in 2013 designed to advance the new field of work “Resource-efficient Structural Design”.
It was possible to start an initial series of appropriate developments in mixed building products (timber-glass, timber-sheet metal, timber-lightweight concrete, etc.). The intention is to attain the multiple target of resource efficiency, sustainability and architectural-constructional logics. Highly promising international cooperative ventures were undertaken, and in 2016 the Department, together with the Institute of Spatial and Sustainable Design and the Institute of Civil Engineering and Mechanics of Materials and Structures, was put in charge of organising the biennial “World Conference on Timber Engineering”.
The Department sees itself as bridgehead for the collaboration between the disciplines of architecture, civil engineering and spatial planning in the context of innovative, sustainable and resource-oriented planning and building. The aim of bringing together architecture and civil engineering students and positioning the study course in an international context led as of 2010 to the setting up of a post-graduate Master programme “Urban Wood – Wood-based Building Design for Sustainable Urban Development” for participants who have completed their degrees in engineering or architecture. This took place in English together with the TU Dresden and the Politecnico de Milano.