3D Printed Sandstone Architecture

– 3D Printed Sandstone Architecture –

Two ETH researchers, Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, created an immersive space that covers a surface of 16 m2 and is more than three metres high. Its organic, decorative design gives it the semblance of a gothic cathedral’s façade. The project, called Digital Grotesque, combines computational design technology and shapes of nature in a very novel way, creating space from artificial sandstone with a 3D printer. “With these delicate structures, we show that the scope for designing a digitally developed wall is almost limitless,” explained Dillenburger in a press release.

Whereas assembly of Digital Grotesque took only a day and printing just a month, the development of the design required more than a year. According to Dillenburger, the difficult part was keeping track of the emerging shapes by using the algorithms, and designing creative and surprising effects.

1_3ddruckraum_lA special large-scale 3D printer produced more than 11 tonnes of artificial sandstone for the work. The printer is normally used to manufacture casting moulds for large, complex metal parts such as engine blocks, which are then grouted with metal. The ETH architects came up with the idea of using this technology to build architectonic parts. The printer applies a layer of sand which is subsequently fixed in the places where the shape should emerge. (Video)

Digital Grotesque can be seen at the FRAC Centre in Orléans (France) until 2 February 2014 at the Archilab 2013 exhibition “Nautralise l’architecture”.

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