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Wood Fibres and Tree Rings

The structure of wood

Like no other material wood embodies sustainability, versatility and warmth and as such will continue to be one of the most important building materials in the future. The structure of wood is highly complex, and to this day, not fully understood. The most commonly used representations do not correspond to current scientific knowledge. This gulf is addressed by the project «Wood Fibres and Tree Rings». In co-operation with the ETH Wood Science Group, detailed 3D models are created based on up-to-date knowledge, and made available as flexible components in the form 3D data. The project therefore contributes to further developments in scientific research but also provides visualisations for teaching purposes.


Models are among the most complex and multi-layered tools for acquiring knowledge. As simplified depictions of reality in visual form, they are used in many scientific disciplines. Drawings, images and visualisations represent reality and reveal it in all its complexity. By developing an aesthetically attractive, surprising and expandable form of visualisation, this project makes an important contribution to the examination of methods of representation and the role of aesthetic aspects in visual scientific models. Employing reduction and a capacity to surprise, models make a dry matter come alive in a fascinating and accessible way. The dialogue between the scientists at ETH was exemplary, and points to the relevance of epistemic images.