1. ArchDaily
  2. 4 D Printing

4 D Printing: The Latest Architecture and News

Harvard Researchers Develop 4D-Printed Structures that React to Water

In 2013, Skylar Tibbits of the MIT Self-Assembly Lab introduced a new phrase to the architectural lexicon: 4D Printing. The concept, which built on the hype surrounding 3D printing and added the dimension of time, describes materials that can be constructed through 3D printing in such a way that they later react and change shape in response to an external stimulus such as heat or moisture.

Tibbits demonstrated his idea with a composite of two materials, but now researchers led by materials scientist Jennifer Lewis at Harvard have gone one better, creating a method that produces the same effects with just one material.

See the Beauty in Programmable Materials in this Mesmerizing Video

In his TED Talk showcasing his work at MIT's Self Assembly Lab, computational architect Skylar Tibbits does an excellent job of explaining the functional possibilities of programmable materials and four-dimensional printing - from structures that assemble themselves in space, to infrastructure that can adapt itself to changes in demand. But there is one property of these materials that he fails to mention: they can be truly beautiful in action.

But in this video by Dana Zelig, a masters student in industrial design at Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the beauty of these processes is placed front and center. Using nothing more than 12 sheets of shrinkable pre-stressed polystyrene taken from children's creativity sets, a home printer and an infra-red light, Zelig's "Traces" project has created a series of self-forming shapes that delicately transform in front of our eyes.

Seaweed, Salt, Potatoes, & More: Seven Unusual Materials with Architectural Applications

The following article is presented by ArchDaily Materials. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine, Lara Kristin Herndon and Derrick Mead explore seven innovative architectural materials and the designers behind them. Some materials are byproducts, some will help buildings breathe and one is making the leap from 3D printing to 4D printing.

When Arthur C. Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, he was speaking from the spectator’s point of view, not the magician’s. As our list of smart materials shows, technology solves difficult problems, but getting there requires more than just a wave of the magic wand. Each of the following projects looks past easy answers. Whether it’s a new way of looking at old problems, a new material that maximizes the efficiency of an old technique, or a new method to tap the potential of an abundant or underutilized resource, here are seven innovators who take technology out of the realm of science fiction.