The Application of Robotic Fabrication in Reinterpreting Traditional Chinese Joinery: The Dougong Capitol

Jiangyang Zhao*, Asterios Agkathidis, Davide Lombardi, Hanmei Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review


The Dougong (bracket set), consisting of wooden blocks (Dou) and bow-shaped brackets (Gong), is a typical structural element in traditional Chinese timber buildings. Its primary function is to transfer roof loadings to pillars. Applying the Dougong in contemporary design offers significant advantages, including cultural continuity, sustainability, and seismic performance. However, its complex geometries, installation methods, and connections make their use in contemporary timber architecture challenging. Robotics have been increasingly adopted in timber architecture in recent decades, opening new possibilities for reinterpreting the Dougong. This paper presents a file-to-fabrication framework for applying the Dougong in contemporary design. A column was used to test the feasibility of the workflow. The paper also emphasises the crucial role of human-robot cooperation in minimising collisions caused by differences between the positions of components in the real lab and Rhinoceo3D. It also proves that a workable gap between the tenon and mortise could maximise the success rate of its robotic fabrication and ensure the stability of the column.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationeCAADe2024 Data-Driven Intelligence
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sept 2024
EventeCAADe2024 Data-Driven Intelligence - University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Duration: 11 Sept 202413 Sept 2024


ConferenceeCAADe2024 Data-Driven Intelligence


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