Brettstapel Construction

Director Matt Bridgestock worked with two other architects, Sam Foster and James Henderson, to produce research and English information on Brettstapel timber construction. The aim was to stimulate the development of a healthier, greener building material and we published this information on a dedicated website.

Brettstapel is the term commonly used for solid timber construction that does not generally use glues or nails. Fabricated from softwood timber posts connected with hardwood timber dowels, this relatively simple method of construction has the potential to utilise low grade timber that would otherwise be unsuitable for use in construction, to form load-bearing solid timber wall, floor and roof panels.

The system works by using dowels with a moisture content lower than that of the posts; over time the dowels expand to achieve moisture equilibrium thus ‘locking’ the posts together and creating a structural load-bearing system.

With Brettstapel normally manufactured entirely out of untreated timber, it is important to stress that glue is not necessary. The exclusion of glue and nails (which are seen in other solid timber systems) means a healthier indoor air quality can be achieved, while the timber itself locks in vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

For more information, see our website at