As reported by the BBC, construction of Antoni Gaudí‘s already 133-year-old Sagrada Família in Barcelona is now being accelerated by one of the most modern technologies around: 3-D printing. As a matter of fact, the construction process in Barcelona has been utilizing 3-D printing for 14 years, introducing the technology in 2001 as a way of speeding up the prototyping of the building’s many complex components.
The process uses powder-based stereolithographic 3-D printers, which build prototypes layer-by-layer, resulting in a material similar to plaster. This is important to the workshop at the Sagrada Família, because it allows craftsmen to easily alter the prototypes by hand, to meet the demanding specifications of the building.
Following on from other experiments in 3-D Printing including a proposal for a house printed from salt and an earthquake resistant column inspired by Incan masonry, the California-based Emerging Objects team has created Bloom, a pavilion constructed from 840 unique blocks 3-D printed from portland cement.
The 9-foot (2.7 meter) tall pavilion is cruciform in plan, morphing as it rises to become the same cruciform shape twisted by 45 degrees. On the facade of the pavilion, perforations are mapped onto the cement blocks to create a design inspired by traditional Thai flower patterns.
3-D printing is slow; it’s really just “2-D printing over and over,” says chemist and material scientist Joseph DeSimone. Addressing the three main issues that has prevented 3-D printing from being a mainstream manufacturing process – time, structural and material limits – DeSimone has unveiled Carbon3D at TED2015. A process inspired by the T-1000 from Terminator 2, Carbon3D uses light and oxygen to continuously (and quickly) grow parts out of a vat of liquid resin using a new technology known as CLIP – Continuous Liquid Interface Production. While the process’ potential has been immediately correlated with the medical industry, one can only imagine its effect on manufacturing as a whole.
Los Angeles-based practice Synthesis Design + Architecture has created a 3-D printed chair which uses the latest gradient 3-D printing technology to apply different material properties to different parts of the chair. Originally asked by leading 3-D printing company Stratasys to design a piece that would not be possible without utilizing 3-D printing, Synthesis Design + Architecture chose to go one better, designing a chair that would not be possible without the Stratasys Objet 500 Connex3, which is capable of combining a range of material properties into a single print run.
“See the future, create the future,” this is the motto of Dubai’s newly unveiled “Museum of the Future.” The metallic oblong-structure, planned for a corner lot in Dubai’s central financial district next to the Emirates Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, is said to become “an incubator for ideas and real designs, a driver for innovation and a global destination for inventors and entrepreneurs.”
“The world is entering a new era of accelerated knowledge and great technological revolutions,” tweeted United Arab Emirates prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “We aim to lead in that era, not to follow and lag behind. The Museum of the Future is the first step of many to come, marking the beginning of great achievements.”
Holograms, robotics and 3-D printing will play a crucial role in the structure’s realization. Learn more and watch a video fly-through the building after the break.
Imagine forgoing time-intensive 3D modeling programs to instead create 3D printable models by playfully stacking sensored LEGO bricks. This reality isn’t far from fruition, as the London-based studio Gravity has released plans for an augmented reality app that uses location-mapping and gyroscopic sensors to generate digital (and scalable) models of your creation in realtime. The program, “Lego X” uses an algorithm to intuitively smooth out edges and join corners, allowing for easy modifying and seamless 3D printing.
See the program in action, after the break.
Once again, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co has expanded the capabilities of 3D printing. After constructing ten houses in under twenty-four hours last year, now they are back with both the world’s tallest 3D printed building – a five-story apartment block – and a 1,100 square meter mansion with internal and external decoration to boot.
On display in Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu province, the two buildings represent new frontiers for 3D printed construction, finally demonstrating its potential for creating more traditional building typologies and therefore its suitability for use by mainstream developers.
At their Windows 10 Event today in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft unveiled features for its forthcoming operating system that it feels could revolutionize computing, particularly for people who want to design, make or fix something in the real world: holographics. The company revealed both the Windows Holographic features that will be built into Windows 10 and HoloLens, an in-house designed headset that will be capable of placing holographic elements into the world around you – think of it as a combination of the flat augmented reality overlay in Google Glass, and the immersive yet virtual-only presentation of Oculus Rift.
The video trailer above shows the far-reaching implications for a variety of designers, both professional and amateur (including a nod to the architecture profession at the 50-second mark), with TechCrunch explaining how the technology “offers a way for architects to survey and present their designs alongside clients even when separated by great distances.”
Global construction company Skanska is teaming up with Foster + Partners and the engineers at Loughborough University (LU) to create the world’s first commercial 3D concrete printing robot. The company has signed an agreement with LU, who has been working on the project since 2007, to partake in an 18-month initiative with a consortium of partners focused on developing a robot capable of printing complex structural components with concrete.
A video about LU’s research on 3D concrete printing and Foster + Partner’s involvement, after the break.
3D printing technology is quickly emerging as a technology that could be applied at the scale of the built environment. But could we use 3D printed materials to create engaging urban spaces that are constantly changing? Creative communications agency, The Neighbourhood, has imagined speculative architecture based on 3D printed materials.
A team of California-based designers have invented an earthquake-proof column built of 3D printed sand, assembled without bricks and mortar to withstand the harshest seismic activity. The ‘Quake Column‘ is comprised of a pre-determined formation of stackable hollow bricks which combine to create a twisting structure, optimized for intense vibrations in zones of earthquake activity. Created by design firm Emerging Objects, the column’s sand-based composition is one of many in a series of experimental structures devised by the team using new materials for 3D Printing, including salt, nylon, and chocolate. The column can be easily assembled and disassembled for use in temporary and permanent structures, and was designed purposefully with a simple assembly procedure for novice builders.
Find out how the Quake Column works after the break
3D printing technology continues to advance, developing new applications which are particularly promising for the world of architecture. Now, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated a new manufacturing process that can create 3D printed metal components with an unprecedented degree of precision. For architecture, this could mean greater control over the customization of the smallest components in buildings, as well as more carefully engineered properties of the larger ones.
The new technique involves an additive process in which successive layers of material are laid down with computer control and fused to create an object of almost any shape. As technology has progressed, printers have been able to progressively increase their resolution, enabling the creation of smaller parts with smoother surfaces. ORNL has developed a process that precisely manages the solidification of metal parts in each layer on a microscopic scale. This enables them to better control local material properties, which can have a profound impact on the strength, weight, and function of 3D printed metal components.
Read on to learn more about how this manufacturing process could shape the future of 3D printing.
Autodesk has announced a new program which aims to invest up to $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years. The Spark Investment Fund will invest in innovative entrepreneurs, startups and researchers in the 3D printing field who ”push the boundaries of 3D printing technology and accelerate the new industrial revolution.”
The investment fund has been developed alongside Autodesk’s recently released Spark software, a free and open 3D printing platform which connects a wide range of 3D printing hardware and design software, and can work with any material. The company hopes to encourage the 3D printing community to build upon and improve this software.
More on the fund after the break
The 5AXISMAKER is a desktop 5-axis multi-fabrication CNC machine that hopes to expand the possibilities of digital fabrication by making it cheap and more versatile. Should the project receive backing on Kickstarter before the 27th October 2014, the possibility of 5-axis milling will become an affordable reality for manufacturing complex design prototypes. The product in development “provides a large cutting volume for it’s size, therefore producing “generously sized objects.” Developed by graduates of London’s Architectural Association, they hope to “shake the manufacturing world with new ways of fabricating using industrial robots right at your desk.”
Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has won Grand Prize in the NASA Tech Briefs magazine’s “Create the Future” contest for his entry, “Robotic Building Construction by Contour Crafting.” The revolutionary construction method was awarded for being a “major innovation” that could potentially 3D print entire neighborhoods in half the time and at 30 percent less cost than traditional building methods.
Though some have visions of using Contour Crafting (CC) to sculpt the moon’s first settlements, Khoshnevis primary desire is combat the world’s housing shortage by using the automated construction method to rapidly deploy housing in impoverished and disaster areas.
More information and an interview with Khoshnevis on CNN, after the break.
Why do we make models? From sketch maquettes and detail tests to diagrammatic and presentation models, the discipline of physically crafting ideas to scale is fundamental to the architect’s design process. For architect and educator Nick Dunn, architectural models ultimately ”enable the designer to investigate, revise and further refine ideas in increasing detail until such a point that the project’s design is sufficiently consolidated to be constructed.” In Dunn’s second edition of his practical guide and homage to the architectural model, the significance and versatility of this medium is expertly visualised and analysed in a collection of images, explanations, and case studies.
The architects of Emerging Objects have devised a scheme for a 3D printed house made from locally harvested salt and concrete. Known as the “3D Printed House 1.0,” the case study residence was commissioned by the Jin Hai Lake Resort Beijing. It integrates traditional construction methods with renewable 3D printed materials, manufactured by Emerging Objects, to build a house that is sustainable, structurally sound and beautiful.
Among the vast coverage of 3D printing in the media, the technology is frequently cited as the ‘future’ of production, focusing on its ability to bring new things into existence quickly and cheaply. But does 3D printing have to be all about the future? As this article originally printed by Metropolis Magazine as “3D Printing Saves a Frank Lloyd Wright Treasure“ attests, 3D printing also has something to offer to the past; specifically, to a deteriorating Frank Lloyd Wright building whose ‘textile block’ was simply too complex to restore through any other modern techniques. Read on after the break to find out how this high-tech rescue mission is being achieved.