Empathic architecture: Digital fabrication and community participation

Hiroto Kobayashi, Don O’Keefe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines a new construction method in engineered wood material, including plywood and LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber), using computer numerically controlled routers to build simple buildings in a quick and inexpensive way. With the method elaborate on here, there is no need to use skilled labor or sophisticated construction equipment. It provides an effective way of rebuilding in the wake of natural disasters. The primary innovations of this method are in ease of construction and transportation by using flat, portable, and durable engineered wood products, application of the traditional wisdom in wooden carpentry, and the efficiency of digital fabrication technology. In the case of disaster relief, using this construction process as a method of organizing community is essential for successful implementation. The experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March, 2011 in north-east Japan highlights the importance of bringing both technical and social skills to disaster reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


  • CNC machine
  • Disaster reconstruction
  • Empathy
  • Engineered wood
  • Ethics
  • Inclusivity
  • Mutually-built
  • Public participation
  • Self-built

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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