3D printed architecture that shows why this trend is the future of modern architecture: part 2
3D printed architecture is slowly but surely gaining a lot of popularity and momentum. This emerging trend is making its way into modern architecture. And I mean, no wonder it has a ton of benefits! It is a simple, effective and innovative technique which reduces the risk of errors, and also manages to save time! 3D printing removes many tedious steps from the construction process and simplifies it. It is used to build houses, habitats on Mars, and even floating islands! The potential and possibilities of 3D printing in architecture are endless and breathtaking. We’ve curated a collection of 3D printed architectural structures that are our absolute favorites – from floating office cubicles to an underwater skyscraper, each of these designs unleashes the magic and potential of 3D printing!
TECLA is a global habitat entirely printed in 3D based on natural materials. Construction of TECLA began as a prototype in 2019 near Bologna, Italy, in response to pressing societal issues of explosive population growth that inevitably led to a lack of affordable housing. TECLA is created from fully reusable and recyclable materials collected from the local land – it aims to be a model of circular housing as well as eco-housing. The habitat was designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and showcased by WASP’s engineering and printing technology. TECLA is poised to be the first house to be fully 3D printed using locally sourced clay that has been used for centuries in countries like India as a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative. environment with cement – clay is a biodegradable and recyclable material which will make the building a zero waste structure.
In creating R-IGLO, ArchiTech Company partnered with Royal 3D to create igloo-like workspaces made from recycled PET plastic, a material that can be reused many times over. Currently under redevelopment, a major port in Rotterdam called M4H is where the team behind R-IGLO sources all of the materials used during the 3D printing process. Once the materials needed for printing are acquired, the construction of each R-IGLO workspace also takes place in M4H. R-IGLO units are built by connecting 3D printed panels which can then be disassembled, stored and transported as easily as they were assembled. Since each R-IGLO fabric consists of multiple modules, owners can reduce or increase the size of their R-IGLO by replacing modules of different sizes.
Casa Covida was 3D printed using earth mixed with straw, sand and other organic materials – a successful experiment from the California studio. The name Casa Covida refers to both the global pandemic and the Spanish word for cohabitation, as it was born at a particular time when we dealt with these two things. The organic structure is currently a prototype that can accommodate two people and was 3D printed in the desert of the San Luis Valley, Colorado, using a three-axis SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm) which extruded an adobe mixture of sand, silt, clay and water. The house consists of three parts: a central space, a sleeping space and a bathing space.
Designed by Dutch architects Houben and Van Mierlo, this rock-shaped house in the Netherlands welcomed its tenants on April 30, making it the first inhabited 3D printed house in the country! The one-story house was built as part of a 3D printing program called Project Milestone. It is said to be the first 3D printed house in Europe where people actually reside! Renters say the house has the feel of a bunker and feels safe. With curved sloping walls and floor to ceiling windows, the house is an open and warm living space.
Team Mars Incubator participated in the NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge with its Modular Habitat. Each module serves as a separate room and is connected by a gateway. The smaller modules are made to be dodecahedral (including pentagons), while the large primary module includes hexagonal and pentagonal pieces.
In the future, you will find enclaves floating on the Vistula with Wawel Castle as a backdrop. Designer Agnieszka Białek who made this Zen desk is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland, which explains the picturesque theme. The architectural structure has soft, curved edges and a contemporary look that contrasts with the natural setting but still complements it. Since the pods float on the river, this reduces the utility requirement to almost zero and there is no degradation of the soil. The enclaves look like bubbles on the river – the natural foam creates floating geometric shapes that developed into a larger version for the project. Like water lilies, pods are anchored to the river bed and also attached to each other like a network which makes it modular by nature. Pods can be 3D printed in days using waterproof and recycled / recyclable materials to further reduce their environmental impact. It comes with built-in furniture that creates versatile spaces to suit everyone’s personality and work needs.
BiodiverCity is one of the most recent projects of Bjarke Ingels, it is a city of three islands connected by autonomous vehicles for land, water and air to make it a habitat without transport emissions off the coast of coasts of Malaysia. Three islands will be built in Penang and will serve as cultural, commercial and residential hubs. The most striking thing about the development is that all transportation on the 4,500 acres will consist of self-contained boats, vehicles, and air travel, making the islands both pedestrian and pedestrianized. Construction is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions, in fact even more than the aviation industry. Thus, to reduce the impact on the environment, most buildings will be prefabricated or 3D printed on site and others will use a combination of bamboo, Malaysian wood and “green concrete” made from recycled materials such as the aggregate.
The Zopherus team created their rather unique Zopherus habitat for NASA’s 3D printed habitat challenge. Rather than transporting material to Mars, the Zopherus relies (in part) on material found on Mars. Essentially a massive interplanetary 3D printer, the Zopherus deploys rovers that collect the material and bring it back to the printer, which binds it with cement and prints the habitat. The habitat uses two nozzles that print in HDPE and Martian concrete. HDPE forms a basic structure as well as an outer shell for the Martian concrete construction, strengthening it as well as protecting it from the extreme temperatures of the Red Planet.
Founded by Maggie Grout, the non-profit organization Thinking Huts presented plans for a 3D printed school in Fianarantsoa, a town in Madagascar. The school will be built using locally sourced materials, while being fully aware of the surrounding environment. Conceived by Studio Mortazavi, the school will feature 3D printed walls, solar panels, a vertical farm and internet access.
How many of you are familiar with combustible ice? Usually a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas, it can be ignited in a frozen state and is considered one of the most abundant fossil fuels in the world. As we dig into the seas to fuel our consumption, the problem of marine litter becomes more and more serious. Due to the structural characteristics of plastic, it will not be easily corroded by sea water. Therefore, designers Xuejun Bai, Chucheng Pang, Lei Zhai, Yuyang Sun, Dianao Liu came up with the idea of using materials local, transform plastic waste into 3D printed materials, like our own building materials, and fill cracks in the seabed caused by mining combustible ice to prevent secondary disasters. “In order to resolve energy and environmental issues as much as possible, we are installing the location with the highest coincidence of combustible ice and marine debris as a yard. There are two main moving lines in the building, the descending materials and the ascending energy. Among them, the energy tower transforms plastic waste from the sea into 3D printing materials, and prints the building and the energy tank along the central cylinder, turning into a growing building.
For more innovative and fascinating 3D printed architectural designs, check out Part 1 of this article!