Until recently 3D printers were used to make relatively small objects, but they are now making waves in architecture, transforming the way buildings are made. Printing whole houses in one go will become possible in the future, but for now architects are using 3D technology in other interesting ways.
One of the most widespread applications of 3D printing in architecture is model-creation. Architects used to make models by hand, out of wood or foam. All that you need now is a sketch, computer and a 3D printer.Not only does the new technology speed up and simplify the process, but the models are created with higher precision, making it possible to visualize the smallest of details.
This gives architects more flexibility: they can test different concepts since they don’t have to make models by hand, and decide what works best. 3D models are also easy to re-print or re-edit if the client requests a change or a duplicate.
Architects are already coming up with new and innovative ways to incorporate 3D printing into construction. It is slowly becoming possible to create larger objects using 3D technology. It’ll be a big game changer for the architecture industry as printers are employed to build modern structures.
One Chinese company has printed an entire apartment building, developing it at an unprecedented rate: a floor per day. They started from the bottom and worked their way up, the the building was 3D-printed piece by piece and then assembled it on-site.
Unsurprisingly, 3D-printing technologies have mainly been used in new architectural projects. Of course new inventions and contemporary designs go hand in hand. But 3D printing can help with architectural restoration as well.
Traditional facade designs are quite expensive to maintain. New digital tools could make restoration more financially viable, saving many historic buildings from demolition.
As proven by a New York architecture firm EDG, 3D-printing technology is now capable of restoring and recreating historic urban architecture that is under threat. Using laser scanning they were able to incorporate ornamentation into the facade without exceeding the budget.
Without a doubt, 3D printing is leading the future of design and building construction. It is becoming an increasingly important trend in modern architecture. With all the possibilities opening up to architects, the industry is utilising 3D printing in ever more innovative ways.