Strong by Form mimics the growth patterns of trees to fuse the sustainability of wood with the performance of advanced composites.


  • High-performance structures
  • Near-zero waste
  • Use of carbon-sequestering material
  • Fully automated from design to manufacturing


  • Architecture
  • Automotive
  • Infrastructure
  • Maritime vehicles
  • Furniture

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

Recognizing the strength and flexibility of wood, humans––like birds and beavers before us––have long used it for construction.

But when using wood, we have tended to focus on supporting our structures at the macro scale, using large, straight beams and planks that concentrate intense pressure at specific points and follow relatively limited design options. To use more fluid shapes and designs, and to avoid weak joints, we’ve developed energy-and-resource-intensive materials like reinforced concrete, fiberglass, and plastics.

There hasn’t been a good way to get the sustainability of wood and the functionality of composite materials at the same time.

Innovation Details

Architects and inventors at Strong by Form have devised a manufacturing process that mimics the way trees themselves shape their materials for structural performance, opening up revolutionary possibilities for the forms wood construction can take.

It starts by cutting wood into small flakes. Then, design software arranges the direction and distribution of flakes to bear the loads that the material needs to support. Advanced robotics then lay down the flakes with a bit of binding resin, matching the prescribed three-dimensional pattern, using minimal material to get optimal performance.

Since Strong by Form’s manufacturing process uses wood flakes, not sawn timber, it can make use of a wide diversity of tree species, and a greater proportion of each tree, including smaller branches and parts with irregular forms.

Strong by Form’s engineered lightweight wood product reduces the amount of material needed to build structures and the costs to transport them, yet the material is strong enough to become an alternative to highly polluting materials such as steel, aluminum, concrete, or fiber-reinforced plastics, in buildings, vehicles, and furniture.

video thumbnail

Biological Model

To withstand forces that would break them, trees have evolved a strategic way of growing: they form their wood to compensate for those forces. As a trunk or branch grows, it will adjust the size and number of different kinds of cells, the thickness of cell walls, and the compounds within them.

In hardwood trees, that results in rings being thicker on the top side of branches, stuffed with lots of stretchy fibers to accommodate the downward pull of tension. Softwood trees build up the lower side of branches with rigid lignin to resist the crushing stress of compression. In all trees, structural support is highly adaptable, working at odd angles and curves, and built right into the material used for construction, at the micro scale.

Ray of Hope Prize®

The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world. Strong by Form was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize.