Timber Construction 4.0

Associated Project 2 (AP 2)


Prefabrication is often associated with automation. Although timber construction has a comparatively high proportion of prefabrication in the construction industry, mainly the production of the individual parts is computer-controlled. This project aims to digitize further steps in prefabrication: from subtractive manufacturing of components to additive joining of prefabricated assemblies and quality assurance. Here, innovative automation and digitization strategies and technologies from other branches of industry can be further developed for the special requirements of timber construction.

The aim of the research project is to transfer the potential of Industry 4.0 to robotic prefabrication in timber construction and to develop new production processes that will trigger a paradigm shift. Through the integration of computer-based design methods, static optimization, digital manufacturing, robotic assembly and quality assurance, adaptive and material-efficient design systems will be developed. The focus is on all aspects of cyber-physical production: subtractive manufacturing of individual parts, additive assembly of components to prefabricated assemblies through digital identification, handling, placement and joining of components, intelligent logistics, feedback and quality assurance. Therefore, the research project aims to integrate further essential aspects of Industry 4.0 and the associated digitalization of production technology and logistics in order to demonstrate the full potential of the fourth industrial revolution for timber construction.



Prof. Achim Menges
Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD), University of Stuttgart
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Knippers
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart


Simon Bechert (ITKE)
Hans-Jakob Wagner (ICD)


Clusterinitiative Forst und Holz Baden-Württemberg, “Industrie 4.0 im Holzbau”, HIP_1064103



  1. 2020

    1. Qi, Y., Zhong, R., Kaiser, B., Nguyen, L., Wagner, H. J., Verl, A., & Menges, A. (2020). Working with Uncertainties: An Adaptive Fabrication Workflow for Bamboo Structures. In P. F. Yuan, J. Yao, C. Yan, X. Wang, & N. Leach (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2020 DigitalFUTURES. Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
    2. Wagner, H. J., Alvarez, M., Groenewolt, A., & Menges, A. (2020). Towards digital automation flexibility in large-scale timber construction: integrative robotic prefabrication and co-design of the BUGA Wood Pavilion. Construction Robotics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41693-020-00038-5
    3. Wagner, H. J., Alvarez, M., Kyjanek, O., Bhiri, Z., Buck, M., & Menges, A. (2020). Flexible and transportable robotic timber construction platform – TIM. Automation in Construction, 120, Article 120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2020.103400
    4. Wagner, H. J., Chai, H., Guo, Z., Menges, A., & Yuan, P. F. (2020). Towards an On-site Fabrication System for Bespoke , Unlimited and Monolithic Timber Slabs. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) Las Vegas, NV, USA (Virtual) - Workshop on Construction and Architecture Robotics, 2020. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.14098.68802
  2. 2019

    1. Alvarez, M., Wagner, H. J., Groenewelt, A., Krieg, O., Kyjanek, O., Aldinger, L., Bechert, S., Sonntag, D., Menges, A., & Knippers, J. (2019). The buga wood pavilion - Integrative interdisciplinary advancements of digital timber architecture. ACADIA - Ubiquity and Autonomy Proceedings of the ACADIA Conference 2019, 490--499.




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