Jin Young Song - Stick Snap Stack, a joinery system without bonding agents
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Stick Snap Stack, a joinery system without bonding agents

Jin Young Song

Special Projects  /  Completed
Jin Young Song

Cities need more accessible and reconfigurable construction strategies to foster a culture of dynamic placemaking. Although the construction industry has developed temporary structures using modular metal framing and panels (or fabric skin) for decades, the execution of such systems is not widely accessible to the public. Several joinery systems in traditional wooden architecture in East Asia respond specifically to material limitations and extend the member length without using permanent bonding agents. The project aims to investigate the joinery system to develop a more independent and reconfigurable method. Through the process of fast prototyping and stacking simulations, a novel block design and aggregation intelligence are developed.

The system utilizes the simplicity of 'stacking.' Without bonding agents, the system employs a 'snapping'-induced interlocking for its unique stacking mechanism. This system enables people to construct variable structures while reducing the need for skilled labor, and it also enables disassembly at the end of the program's lifespan for reuse in other structural supports. The reversibility of the structural system has the potential to contribute to the dynamic placemaking in the city.

The geometry of the centerpiece can be fabricated to shift the stacking angle, while the modularized three legs of the assembled unit block interlock with other blocks to complete a rhombohedral unit cell, acting as a self-supporting structural 'module'. This module can be aggregated in multiple directions to construct structural framing. Reversible structures can respond to the changing needs of space. The blocks are reconfigurable, and the parts are recyclable. The intelligence of this novel stacking mechanism contributes to the overall sustainability of our built environment.

The project integrates the simplicity of dry stacking with traditional wood joinery details. Just like the wood interlocking method minimizes the use of bonding agents, we aim to use a 'snapping'-induced interlocking system for the unique stacking mechanism. The built prototype presents coordination-based modular systems of universal blocks to increase material efficiency and structural integrity while maintaining formal flexibility. The experiments have focused on the unit block design, interlocking system based on material instability, geometry study for potential organic geometry, and assembly/disassembly process with strategic loading conditions. Based on these studies, Stick Snap Stack is a craft-based alternative construction system that offers a resilient construction framework. The product integrates the method of traditional wood joints with advanced manufacturing techniques. Stick, Snap, Stack will provide opportunities for people to participate in the dynamics of placemaking through a novel construction system that reinvents the resilient performance of the city.

The parts and modules of a 5.5m tall prototype were fabricated in Buffalo and transported to Korea in four regular suitcases to demonstrate the assembly and disassembly process for various uses. The pavilion was assembled by a single person without tools and was showcased as part of the thematic exhibition at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. The pavilion moved to a different exhibition in several hours by the process of easy assembly and disassembly.


 New York, USA
 0 mq
 Jin Young Song
 Jin Young Song


Jin Young Song, AIA, is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, a registered architect in New York State, and a founder of DIOINNO Architecture PLLC, a design firm based in Buffalo and Seoul. Song's research expertise is in the field of architectural design, focusing on sustainable building envelopes and alternative construction systems. Prior to joining the University at Buffalo, he worked as a senior designer at SOM's New York office. Song’s professional experience also includes working for OMA in Rotterdam and Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin. He received a Master's in Architecture degree from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Song is a recipient of several awards, including the Forge Prize, iF Awards, Architizer A+ Awards, AZ Award of Merit, AIA New York State Design Award, and NYSCA Independent Project Grant Award.



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