In a world where technology is at the forefront of our lives, it’s hard to imagine that many of the jobs that are available now did not exist 10 years ago; uber drivers, social media managers, app developers and even the job of an ArchDaily writer would have seemed an abstract concept! As technology advances further, even more job positions will be created and others left behind, leaving it open to speculation as to what will come next.
It is almost impossible to predict the future, but digital agency AKQA and Mish Global have attempted the impossible and envisioned several potential jobs in the design and construction industry in 2030 following inspiration from several panels they attended at the World Economic Forum. With the speed of changes over the last decade, they don’t seem too far from reality either.
Siam Research and Innovation Company (SRI) is a Thailand-based cement manufacturer that has been developing innovations to push the limits of 3D printing in architecture. Their project 'Triple S' –developed in 2017– is based on traditional Thai craftsmanship to generate Surface, Structure, and Shelter in a single process; its specific artisanal form creating beautiful framework for structural purposes, easily building living spaces.
WATG Urban's first prize design for The Freeform Home Design Challenge in 2016 is now moving one step closer to becoming a reality. Since winning the competition, WATG's Chicago office has been developing the winning design, dubbed Curve Appeal, alongside Branch Technology. Curve Appeal is now undergoing the "wall section testing, research and development phase" with an anticipated goal of breaking ground later this year. This revolutionary project could change the way we construct complex, freeform structures.
The collaboration of Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho has been selected as the winners of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition for their 3D-printed proposal, Window to the Heart.
Envisioned as the “world’s largest lens,” the installation was in response to its location within one of the world’s most instagrammed places, Times Square. The 12-foot-diameter Fresnel lens, designed with 3D-printing manufacturer Formlabs and structural engineer Laufs Engineering Design, will capture the image of the square within the heart-shaped window at its center, bending and distorting the surround myriad lights and colors.
Universal Favourite have developed a range of modular chocolates Complementary that are formed in 3D printed moulds to satisfy any architect with a sweet tooth. The architectural forms have been developed to establish a connection between the two pieces to be eaten as one, complementing one and other.
Even with tech like virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, computational design and robotics already reshaping architecture practice, the design community is just scratching the surface of the potential of new technologies. Designers who recognize this and invest in building skills and expertise to maximize the use of these tools in the future will inherently become better architects, and position themselves for entirely new career paths as our profession evolves. It is a uniquely exciting moment for architecture to advance through innovative use of technology. Even just a decade ago, designers with interests in both architecture and technology were essentially required to pursue one or the other. Now, with architecture beginning to harness the power of cutting-edge technologies, these fields are no longer mutually exclusive. Rather than choose a preferred path, today’s architects are encouraged to embrace technology to become sought-out talent.
Across the world, homelessness in fast-paced metropolises such as New York City is at a record high since the Great Depression of the 1930s, more than 60,000 people are in shelters every night while many others must find a place to sleep on the streets, the subway or other public spaces. The real estate industry has caused the increasing rents and a high demand for any remaining plots; many of the new builds are luxury apartments, rather than the low-cost housing that is so desperately needed. As a result, thousands of people are forced onto the streets and charities struggle to provide adequate help for everyone.
Architect and Project Professor at The University of Tokyo, Fumio Matsumoto put together more than 30 iconic buildings into a single 3D printed object called, “Memories of Architecture.” Façades, exterior forms, interior spaces, and structures of significant architectural works were reproduced at 1:300 scale and merged together in order from old to new.
Originally slated to be built in place, further research concluded that the design would have placed too much stress of the canal walls. So it was back to the drawing board, and the studio, where the updated design is now under construction. Featuring complex curves and a 12-meter-span, the bridge is now being constructed by MX3D’s sophisticated 3D-printed robot. And with about one-third of the structure already completed, it is back on schedule for a late 2018 installation on Amsterdam’s Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal.
Have you ever spent hours calibrating the nozzle of a 3D printer or preparing a print-ready file – only to find that the model has failed because of a missed zero-thickness wall? With this in mind, the Platonics Ark—a 3D printer currently being developed in Helsinki, Finland—has one simple goal: to remove all unnecessary set-up and technical processes by means of intelligent automation and, as a result, almost entirely eliminate the wasted time that architects and designers spend calibrating printers, or working up print-ready files.
Arup's’ research into alternative production techniques and materials has focused on the potential of 3D printing metal in the construction sector. Complex and individually designed steel structural elements can be efficiently produced “resulting in endless possibilities in mass customisation, weight reduction, product integration and more.”
Working with the Anglo-Dutch company 3Dealise, their 3D-printed sand molds are used in the traditional casting process to create sophisticated, unique structural steel nodes as a certified material. Sand printing offers a quick technique that can reuse the materials and allows costs to be kept low.
The team of Foster + Partners and Branch Technology have been awarded first prize in the latest stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, a $2.5 million multi-phase competition designed to generate ideas and advance technology for the construction of sustainable housing solutions “for Earth and beyond.”
After printing three cylinder and three beams the first two levels of Phase 2, Stage 3 asked teams to design and print a 1.5-meter dome using indigenous Martian soil and recyclable materials, envisioning how future habitats could be constructed on the Red Planet. Teams were required to develop the 3-D printing technology itself as well as the structural design for each dome. The competition also dictated each structure be built within a 22-hour time frame, using the specific materials, geometric tolerances and autonomous performance that would be demanded by the Martian landscape.
Italy-based New Fundamentals Research Group recently designed and built a full-scale prototype of an experimental barrel-vaulted stone structure for SNBR, a French company that specializes in cutting-edge stone construction. The structure is named Hypar Vault in a reference to the geometry of its constituent blocks; it uses two types of prefabricated stone modules—one type is the mirror image of the other—whose designs are based on the hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid), one of the only "doubly-ruled" surfaces in geometry. The use of these configurations allowed the vault to be constructed with almost zero wasted stone.
The capabilities of personal 3D printing and fabrication are only beginning to be tested, but a new system is pushing the boundaries for feasible, structurally-sound large scale structures. Unlike other structures created by 3D printing systems, Trussfab doesn’t require access to specialized equipment, nor specific engineering knowledge, to print and build large-scale structures capable of supporting human weight. Phd researcher Robert Kovacs with his team from the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany created Trussfab as an end-to-end system allowing users to fabricate sturdy, large-scale structures using plastic bottles and 3D-printed connections, making them easy and relatively quick to construct.
Brazil-based architects Estudio Guto Requena, working with digital product studio D3, has launched an app that collects emotions to create a unique piece of jewelry. That, and some 3D-printed craftsmanship direct from the design you generate via their new app. Coined the Aura Pendant, the final product is an intricately woven golden pendant that can be gifted to yourself or a loved one.
Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled a new experimental structure as part of Milan’s White In The City Exhibition during the city’s annual Salone del Mobile. Held at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in the heart of Milan’s design district, the exhibition explored the contemporary use of white color in design and architecture across various locations in the city. Named the Thallus – after the Greek word for flora that is not differentiated into stem and leaves, the sculpture is the latest in ZHA’s investigations using 3D printing technology. Thallus continues Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design (ZHA CoDe) group’s research into generating geometries through robotic-assisted design.
The brief is simple: show us your use of 3D printing in your architecture project. Whether it's a wild mockup of a future tech hub made of plastic or a treehouse prototyped in metal, we want to see how you're using 3D printing to help communicate your ideas.