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Nail It

Circular construction with waste wood and augmented reality

How can wood waste and digital tools be used to develop new applications for sustainable and circular construction practices?

The building sector is responsible for 37% of energy-related emissions worldwide. In Germany, it accounts for 90% of the consumption of mineral resources and is responsible for 50% of the waste generated. Packaging waste such as disposable and sorted-out reusable pallets make up part of this waste. This waste must be recycled within the framework of a circular construction industry. In addition, the sorting of components and building materials can simplify further use and recycling.


The "NAIL IT" pavilion is a construction made of recycled wood from Euro and disposable pallets. In total, the structure consists of 827 individual wooden parts that were geometrically recorded in a database. Through the use of computer-based design tools, these parts have been automatically assembled into 36 constructive ribs in a three-dimensional way. To produce these individual ribs, no floor plans or analogue drawings were used, but augmented reality. In this way, the structure has been assembled paperless at the interface between physical and digital perception. Wooden nails shot with compressed air were used to connect the wooden parts, guaranteeing a single-variety solution for coupling the elements. 


During the seminar week, 20 architecture students took part in the "NAIL IT" project in the fabrication hall of the Digital Design & Fabrication (DDF) and Design of Structures (dos) professorship at KIT from 30 May to 2 June 2023. Here they gained insights into digital design and fabrication systems that enable circular, material-appropriate and -efficient architecture.

Photo Gallery

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - Department of Architecture

Professorship Digital Design and Fabrication (DDF)
Tenure-Track Prof. Moritz Dörstelmann, Daniel Fischer, Fanny Kranz, Vincent Witt

Professorship Design of Structures (dos)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Professor Riccardo La Magna, Tamara Haußer, Michael Kalkbrenner

Architecture students:
Deniz Aktürk, Julia Bakucz, Loreta Biba, Jeremias Bröning, Ligia-Maria Chitu, Philipp Coen, Esengül Demir, Anna Haase, Michael Hosch, Sophia Hausner, Aimée Issaka, Maja Jankov, Josephine Lichte, Finn Mayer, Sophia Merkle, lanur Sahin, Jonas Schückle, Isabel Schumm, Lara Sodomann, Anna-Lena Thessmann

©Christoph Engel, KIT photo workshop, ©ddf_KIT

Our special thanks go to the great team at DAS FEST who actively supported our project idea. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the institutions, companies and private individuals who made their wood waste available to us.

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