This work develops analytical and numeric models for the structural assessment of interlocking timber joints.

Historic timber structures feature timber joinery connections that use interlocking geometries rather than fasteners. While timber construction since has gradually favored metallic fasteners, the longevity of historic timber structures utilizing joinery connections demonstrates their feasibility in structural systems and potential to enable sustainable constructions. Advancements in digital fabrication imply the ability to revitalize these complex geometries in competition with conventional fasteners. However, characterization of the mechanical behavior of joinery connections remains to be calibrated across analytical, experimental, and numerical models, let alone systematized across different geometric variations. This research examines the calibration between analytical models and experimental tests for historic interlocking timber joints.


This research has been developed at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL in collaboration with ARUP San Francisco and MIT Digital Structures.

(c) Demi Fang


Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL, Switzerland
Jan Brütting
Prof. Corentin Fivet

Digital Structures, MIT, USA
Demi Fang
Daniel Landez
Prof. Caitlin T Mueller

AT&R, ARUP San Francisco, USA
Julieta Moradei
Nick Sherrow-Groves
Aliz Fischer
Benshun Shao


Conference Paper
Modern timber design approaches for traditional Japanese architecture: analytical, experimental, and numerical approaches for the Nuki joint
Demi Fang, Julieta Moradei, Jan Brütting, Aliz Fischer, Daniel Landez, Benshun Shao, Nick Sherrow-Groves, Corentin Fivet, Caitlin Mueller
Annual symposium of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS), Barcelona, 2019

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Conference Paper

Rotational stiffness in timber joinery connections: Analytical and experimental characterization of the Nuki joint
Demi Fang, Caitlin Mueller, Jan Brütting, Corentin Fivet, Julieta Moradei
Structures and Architecture: Bridging the Gap and Crossing Borders, CRC Press, 2019
DOI: 10.1201/9781315229126-28

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Conference Paper
Structural Characterization of Traditional Moment-Resisting Timber Joinery
Julieta Moradei, Jan Brütting, Corentin Fivet, Nick Sherrow-Groves, Aliz Fischer, Devon Wilson, Jingxian Ye, Javier Cañada
Annual symposium of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS), Boston, 2018

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