Though not common, there is a number of vintage timbering systems that tend and/or have eliminated an abundance of long members, as Tim as given a great example of one. So though not common, interrupted connecting timbers and related "short timbering" is very traditional in a number of timber framing cultures (e.g. Old English, Germanic, Eastern European, Asian).
From a design perspective it is a tradeoff between perhaps not wanting to work with (or having) longer timbers. As such, if this is the case, the application of a great deal more joinery then become necessary. Inherently the strength necessary for a frames durability must be acquired in one of the two critical elements...be it longer members or more joinery.
Being a "modern project" you have the luxury of pulling from whatever traditions you please to achieve both your structural and aesthetic goals. If more joinery isn't an issue, then there are a number of design parameters that could be employed to achieve your goals without long timbers. Many modern designs, within the contemporary timber frame aesthetic, would support your interest in this design system. As is the case of a project we are currently on with 8 meter plus bent spans (~35' drip edge to drip edge) and 6 meter bays (~20'.) We had no real choice but to go with the "more joinery" approach and forgo an continuous connecting timbers for the length of the structure.
Good luck and we all look forward to reading more about your progress...
Edited by Jay White Cloud (07/02/16 09:40 AM)