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.
The blocks are printed from iron oxide-free portland cement, which gives the cement a lighter than usual color, coupled with an ecologically derived UV-resistant polymer which reduces the production of greenhouse gases from the resins inherent to the 3-D printing process by 50%.
Printed on a farm of 11 powder 3-D printers, each block is numbered, eliminating the need for complex construction drawings - instead the construction of the pavilion was guided by a spreadsheet outlining the position of each numbered block.
The cement blocks need no additional support, with the interior of the pavilion defined by its grid of structural ribs. This structural system was inspired by the Iglesia Cristo Obrero of Uruguayan architect and engineer Eladio Dieste and Jefferson’s serpentine brick walls at the University of Virginia, while the precise form was inspired by Richard Serra's Torqued Elipse.
Project Date: 2015
Project Team: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Kent Wilson, Alex Schofield, Sofia Anastassiou, Yina Dong, Dr. Stephan Adams, Alex Niemeyer, Ari Oppenhiemer, Reem Makkawi, Steven Huang.
Video Documentation/Editing: Sofia Anastassiou
Additional Project Information: Bloom was made possible by a partnership with the PrintFARM (Print Facility for Architecture, Research, and Materials) at the University of California Berkeley College of Environmental Design and the Siam Cement Group (SCG Thailand). Additional project support was made through generous sponsorship from 3D Systems and Entropy Resins.
Photographs: Matthew Millman Photography
(A full list of credits and acknowledgements is available at the Emerging Objects website)