TriqBriqs: Unusable Wood Made Into Lego-Like Blocks for Homebuilding

From an environmental perspective, responsibly managed wood is undoubtedly the best building material. It literally grows out of the ground, it stores carbon, and it can be endlessly regenerated.

That being said, there’s a lot of waste created in timber production. Not every tree that gets cut down is turned into usable timbers, and even the ones that are contain lots of discarded parts. Knots, defects and bug infestations can render parts of wood unusable in construction.

German startup TriqBriq has a high-tech solution that yields amusingly low-tech parts. “Thanks to our patented innovation, we can use the damaged and weak wood in a circular manner in structural timber construction,” the company writes. They take undesirable wood, and even what the Germans call “calamity wood”—trees felled before their time due to bug infestations or climate disasters—and run them through their microfactory. There a series of industrial robot arms automatically cut, drill and assemble the wood into modular blocks.

These TriqBriqs are all uniform, and held together with nothing more than dowels and friction. There are no adhesives or fasteners.

The Briqs can be stacked, linked and locked into place with more dowels to form wall assemblies.

They can be shipped on pallets, and easily assembled on-site. Save for the mallet used to drive the connecting dowels in, it’s no-tool assembly.

There’s no framing required, just Lego-like stacking. Here are some workers building a house extension in seven hours using TriqBriqs:

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