In March, Ange Matsumoto Ndayishimiye, a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Real Estate Development, Construction, and Finance, presented her undergraduate senior thesis from Princeton University at the International Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon, with support and sponsorship from Columbia's Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department.
Her research focused on the feasibility of using traditional Japanese timber joints made of glue-laminated beams in modern construction. These joints achieve a balance between aesthetics and structural resilience by omitting fixings such as nails, bolts, and adhesives, allowing for flexibility in the joints and absorption of seismic energy.
Ange investigated the feasibility of using such construction techniques in the modern age by conducting a thorough investigation of the traditional Japanese woodworking and joinery tradition, using a combination of traditional and modern tools to carve and construct two timber joints by hand. She also tested the constructed joints in a three-point bending flexural test to determine the strength-bearing capacity of such glulam joints. Her research paved the way for future research in the applications of traditional Japanese joinery methods in large-scale assemblies, suggesting pathways for their integration with new innovative construction technologies such as robotics, digital fabrication, and mass timber.
"I am incredibly grateful to the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics department for giving me the opportunity to travel to Portland for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Meeting and speaking with so many researchers and professionals who are deeply passionate about the future of mass timber was truly inspiring." After graduation, Ange hopes to continue to focus on sustainability and emerging technologies in the built environment.