Empathic Architecture: Digital Fabrication and Community Participation

  • Hiroto KobayashiEmail author
  • Don O’Keefe
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


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.


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


  1. de Waal F (2017) The age of empathy: nature’s lessons for a kinder society, no 6. Kinokuniyashoten, p 128Google Scholar
  2. Kobayashi H et al (2017) Rethinking resilience, adaptation and transformation in a time of change, 1st edn, no 1. Springer, pp 365–385Google Scholar
  3. Kreimer A (2001) Social and economic impacts of natural disasters. Int Geol Rev 43(5), pp 401–405. Scholar
  4. McCarthy, JJ et al (2001) Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the third assessment report of the IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  5. Yamamura E (2015) The impact of natural disasters on income inequality: analysis using panel data during the period 1970 to 2004. Int Econ J, 29(3):359–374. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Media and GovernanceKeio UniversityFujisawaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of DesignHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations