Reciprocal Roof Pavilion heads to Massachusetts

May 23, 2024

A crew of timbergnomes are in Massachusetts this week to raise a reciprocal roof pavilion for the Native Land Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to conserving land and providing space for Indigenous cultural practices.

12 hefty hardwood forks arranged in a circle are each joined to equally massive peeled spruce rafters whose peaks nestle between their neighboring rafters. This reciprocating roof design allows for an elegant roof structure without the need for a central supporting post.

Given the round and curvy nature of the timbers in this project, the joinery was primarily laid out using bubble scribes and laser levels. Tree forks and rafters were precisely positioned atop our scribe floor, leveled and scribed. For the rafter peak joinery, we made jigs to hold the rafters in their theoretical places, pivoted down to keep everything at floor level. This made for a replicable and straightforward work flow in spite of the complex roof geometry.

Scribed joinery can be tedious work, but it pays off to see everything come together beautifully. See for yourself below, and check back soon for an update on the raising!