LVL Plywood Stars at World Science Festival

By 30/03/2016Blog

An interactive installation bringing together technology, art, architecture, science and engineered wood will be exhibited at the State Library of Queensland next month.

Co-sponsored by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia and EWPAA member Wesbeam, the project is part of the inaugural Asia Pacific Architecture Forum, which coincides with the World Science Festival Brisbane and the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

Initiated by the University of Queensland’s art museum as part of a broader program to engage students and academics in a creative nexus of the arts, science and environment, ‘Sulcus Loci’ brings together seven organisations across the university.

Working in partnership with Queensland Brain Institute’s Luke Hammond, Brisbane artist Dr Svenja Kratz was commissioned by UQ’s School of Architecture to interpret QBI’s extensive collection of brain scans for the exhibition.

Using these brain scans, Dr Kratz developed a conceptual brief for students in UQ’s Master of Architecture, Master of Multimedia Design, and Master of Interaction Design programs, challenging them to collaboratively create an immersive exhibition environment.

Curator John de Manincor from the School of Architecture says Sulcus Loci promises to provide visitors with an immersive architectural experience.

“It’s an interactive architectural pavilion that houses an experiential artwork developed by Dr Kratz and UQ’s School of Music composer Dr Eve Klein,” Mr de Manincor said.

UQ studio leader and practicing architect Kim Baber, who has guided the design and construction of the pavilion, describes the student’s enthusiasm during the project:
“In response to the brief, students have designed and constructed a unique combination of a static timber frame and an interactive fabric ‘skin’ that showcases the School of Architecture’s material and structures research endeavors.”

The timber frames are a series of pentagonal portal frames, made of 130 x 45 LVL beams, with plywood gusset joints that produce the required portal stiffness.

Each Portal frame is unique in size and location relative to the next, which allows the overall form of the pavilion to take on a bespoke, organic volume in its interior. The form responds to the sculpture in the interior by Dr Svenja Kratz, allowing viewers to enter through a small opening in the ends. The interior can expand into a large encapsulating volume.

Mr Baber praised the generous donation of LVL donated by Wesbeam, personally thanking the support of the Perth-based company’s Quality Assurance Manager Dr Ahsan Qureshi.

The portal frames are ‘woven’ together with a series of thin plywood bands that provide bracing and overall stiffness in the structure. Suspended from within the LVL portal frame structure is a taut fabric membrane with imagery of brain neurons projected onto it. As viewers enter the space, they are invited to stretch and interact with the fabric, which in-turn triggers responses from the projections. Dr Stephen Viller of UQ’s interaction design program notes visitors will be able to immerse themselves in an experience that highlights the interconnection between neuroplasticity and the human-environment using advanced physical computing systems.

Utilising the impressive image library generated by researchers at QBI’s microscopy unit, Sulcus Loci creatively combines art, science and the environment into one exciting showcase.

Sulcus Loci will be open to the public at the State Library of Queensland from March 1 running until May 15.

For more information on the event, visit /


Monique and Kim Baber Architects Guiding Design and Construction.

Creative challenge: Students at the University of Queensland  have accepted a brief to design and construct a unique structure combining a static timber frame and an interactive fabric ‘skin’.