Will Orben - Module 8 - Part 1

Mass Timber Construction Using Prefabrication:


Intended users

This design tool is intended to help owners, general contractors, and engineers who are looking to construct a building using a mass timber frame. It should be accessible enough for someone without technical knowledge to use, while also providing fast and useful outputs for the designers and engineers to assist in their final design.

Need you’re trying to provide a solution or support for

Recently there has been a fascination with constructing mass timber buildings and they have quickly grown in popularity. This is due to the incredibly fast construction times, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal of these projects. Right now, mass timber buildings are being built to provide affordable housing solutions that don’t have a large carbon footprint. Mass timber frames are prefabricated off-site which allows for design tools, like the one I will develop, to efficiently calculate how many unique parts will be needed and what the cost/square footage/carbon footprint will be. There are fairly strict design codes around how to construct these buildings, which is why I think I can create a design tool that abides by these regulations and provides the user with useful metrics that can help them decide on a final design.


  • Shape of Building (L-shaped or Rectangular)
  • Length
  • Width
  • Height
  • Bay Size
  • Story Height

Ambitious inputs:

  • Number of Windows
  • Differing Apartment Sizes

Underlying logic of the model you’ll implement

The logic needed to make this idea work starts with the use of the inputs. I will need to take the user’s desired dimensions and building shape to form the building outline. Then, columns and floors will need to be placed based on the inputs to create the entire frame. Depending on the specified size, the amount of unique prefabricated parts can be calculated by seeing if the length and height of the walls are perfectly divisible by the bay size. After adding the walls, the outputs like the carbon footprint and the square footage can be calculated. This should all be performed as a study so that the Generative Design tool in dynamo can be utilized.


  • Square Footage
  • Building Volume
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Number of Unique Prefabricated Parts
  • Cost
  • Estimate of Construction Time