Benguerra Island, a small body of land off the coast of Mozambique in southeastern Africa, is about to become the site of an ambitiously-constructed luxury resort. Spread across 740 acres, Kisawa Sanctuary will feature 12 generously-sized bungalows, each of which will be set on a private acre of land with amenities including accessible beachfronts, swimming pools, massage huts, and extensively-shaded areas. In addition to the private areas, there will be four restaurants, tennis courts, water sports facilities, and two bars. The design of the buildings throughout the resort was inspired by traditional Mozambican dwellings and will be decorated and furnished with pieces made by local artisans. Developed through a partnership between entrepreneur Nina Flohr and the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies, a Mozambique-based nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of the local subtropical ecosystem, Kisawa Sanctuary will be 3D-printed using a combination of local sand and seawater to reduce material waste on the site. To develop the structures for Kisawa, according to Condé Nast Traveler, “a computer-generated design is sent to a 3D printer, where it's divvied up into layers. The printer's nozzle then draws in the desired material—in the case of Kisawa, a sand-and-seawater mortar—and pipes it out to create the structure from the bottom up.” Other elements on the site will be constructed with minimal waste to ensure the resort “has a light touch on the land but a deep engagement with nature” in an effort to compete with other eco-tourism destinations around the world, such as El Mangroove in Costa Rica and The Resort at Isla Palenque in Panama. “We’ve used design as a tool, not as a style,” Flohr explained to Traveler, "to ensure Kisawa is integrated, culturally and environmentally, to Mozambique.” Construction of the resort is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year, and staying there is expected to set visitors back a minimum of $8,124 USD per night.
Posts tagged with "3D Printing":
Dubai is now home to what is claimed to be the world’s largest on-site 3D-printed building. The 31-foot-tall, two-story government agency was printed in on-site three weeks using a single printer developed by the Boston-based Apis Cor, which has previously garnered attention for their sub-$10,000 printed home and for winning NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge along with SEarch+ for their Martian housing proposal. To realize the 6,889-square-foot structure, Apis Cor moved its automobile-sized printer, which is powered by custom software, around the construction site with a crane, along with the help of three workers. Each wall was printed using a mix of locally-available common products like cement and gypsum, along with proprietary materials the company has developed. Steel rebar was added to reinforce the walls and the foundation was laid using standard construction techniques and insulation, while the roofing and windows were added by workers as well. Apis Cor noted that working unsheltered in the harsh climate required “extensive R&D,” and the team had to develop a process and mix of materials well suited to the changing conditions. (Moscow State University of Civil Construction also lent help with structural modeling.) Despite the severe and shifting environment, Dubai has become a center of experimentation in 3D printing, for construction and in other industries such as medicine. The city aims to have 25 percent of its buildings created with 3D printing by 2030. However, Apis Cor says that its tech is adaptable to other climates and it will be heading to Louisiana and California next to build affordable housing; a use for 3D printing which many claim will be cheaper, faster, and stronger than traditional methods and that has been the focus of other startups such as the Texas-based ICON.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has long kept 3D models of its city. However, cobbled together over the years, the files are at times cumbersome and as firms increasingly turn to 3D printing for model making and testing, not so useful. Printers don’t know how to process them or they are not designed in a way that print with stability. MakeTANK, an initiative of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) saw this as an opportunity. MakeTANK was initially started to “integrate maker culture into the design process,” according to Sasaki director of technical resources Bradford J. Prestbo, who has been intimately involved with the project along with the rest of the firm. The hope was to leverage the many makers and maker spaces in the greater Boston area, and help architects increase client engagement and decrease contractor risk—and cost—by testing their designs out first. “Imagine going into a restaurant where the chef only wrote recipes and has never actually cooked them,” said Prestbo, half-joking. “That's kind of like the architectural profession today, where we just do a lot of paper architecture and paper designs without going through the process to actually taste what we've coupled together to make sure it's actually an effective solution that also will perform long term.” City Print is MakeTANK's latest project, just announced at ABX19, though it’s been under development for over a year. The collaborative team of architects that came together for City Print developed a series of scripts that helped turn the existing models of Boston into “watertight solids,” meaning that when processed in Grasshopper they can be effectively fed into 3D printers. They also added additional topographic details. The process, however, could not be fully automated. The files have to be individually opened, the scripts ran, and all of it double and triple checked for quality control. To help convert the over 200 model tiles of the city to be 3D ready, MakeTANK has enlisted the “who’s who” of Boston-area architects. “We are engaging in the greater AEC community to help us process the tiles,” explained Jay Nothoff, Sasaki fabrication studio manager, “and then turning around and handing this resource back to that same community as a finished project for everyone to enjoy and use as they will further project work.” The revamped models will be added to the BPDA's free repository and the BSA is using them themselves. They’ll be replacing their lobby's current scale model of the city—the basis of which was originally designed in the 1980s and is mostly focused on the financial district—with a new, modular replica made from these printed files. “We're zooming out from the financial district,” said Nothoff. “We're including the City of Boston in its entirety and we're making a model that is easily updated because it is built off a grid system. As portions of the city change and grow, these titles are semi-precious at best; they're just going to be held in place with magnets so we can pull the tile and put a new one in its place to most accurately represents the City of Boston in its current state.” Felipe Francisco, an architectural designer at Sasaki, went on to explain that many community groups didn’t feel represented by the previous BSA model. “We're open to try and create a new dialogue with those groups,” explained Francisco. “We want to use this as a resource for community groups to be able to come in and use this model to diagram stories over it through projection mapping about their communities.” By collaborating with visualization experts, the BSA is developing tools to use the re-built model as a storytelling and visualization device. “The intention is to build a base projection for the model itself that delineates roads, waterways and what have you,” said Nothoff. On top of that could be layered information on sea-level rise, income data, other metrics, or more abstract visuals. “We're reaching out to various organizations throughout the greater Boston area, such as the Boston Foundation, to help us gather all the voices that are currently feeling underrepresented and give them equity with his model and teach them how to use the projection map on to the model and tell their story.” The process is ongoing. Interested area firms can “check out” tiles from a grid of the city, and for a dose of healthy competition, check out a leader board. “You grab a tile, fill out a form, and submit it and shortly thereafter you get all the support files and the working files and scripting as well as instructions on how to process them,” explained Prestbo.
Researchers at Rice University have developed a technique that makes 3D-printed common materials diamond-hard. Inspired by the theoretical form of tubulanes—a carbon nanotube structure that scientists predicted in the 1990s would have tremendous strength but have been unable to produce—the researchers scaled the structures up and found that these larger-scale imitators still maintained many of the theoretical nanotubes’ powerful properties. The team, headed up by Seyed Mohammad Sajadi working at the lab of Pulickel Ajayan, recently reported their results in the journal Small. Tubulanes were conceived of by chemist Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas and physicist Douglas Galvão of the State University of Campinas, Brazil back in 1993 (both authors are named as co-authors of the recent paper, “3D Printed Tubulanes as Lightweight Hypervelocity Impact Resistant Structures”). Back in 2017, the researchers at Rice also demonstrated that another theoretical nanostructure, schwarzites, could similarly be approximated at a larger scale with traditional materials. While it remains outside the scope of current technology to produce the theoretical tubulanes, the creation of a scaled-up version of these interlocking curvacious forms promises many advantages over traditional structures. The scientists first ran computer simulations of various blocks made of tubulane-inspired forms, before 3D printing polymer versions. They then put the hole-filled blocks to the test the best way they could: by shooting them. Unlike solid blocks of the same material that shatter, these blocks barely dented, proving themselves ten times more effective at stopping a bullet than the solid counterparts. Under crush tests, the sample structures similarly folded in slowly, rather than shattering or losing all structural integrity. But what does this mean for architecture? The team at Rice envisions a future where ceramic, concrete, steel, and other common building materials could be printed in porous tubular approximations. Limited only by the size of the printer, these structures could someday form the basis of ultra-strong building materials that are more durable and react more safely to stress, all while being lighter and, if left uncovered, having a unique, knit-like aesthetic.
At Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus, architect Jenny Sabin has helped realize a large-scale installation powered by artificial intelligence. Suspended from three points within an atrium, the two-story, 1,800-pound sculpture is a compressive mesh of 895 3D-printed nodes connected by fiberglass rods and arranged in hexagons along with fabric knit from photoluminescent yarn. Created as part of Microsoft’s artist-in-residence program, the project is named Ada, after Ada Lovelace, the English mathematician whose work on the analytical engine laid the groundwork for the invention of computer programming as we know it. Anonymized information is collected from microphones and cameras throughout the building. An AI platform designed by a team led by researcher Daniel McDuff processes this data to try to accurately sense people’s emotions based on visual and sonic cues, like facial movements and voice tone. This data is then synthesized and run through algorithms that create a shifting color gradient that Ada produces from an array of LEDs, fiber optics, and par (can) lights. “To my knowledge, this installation is the first architectural structure to be driven by artificial intelligence in real-time,” Sabin, Microsoft’s current artist in residence, told the company’s AI Blog. Microsoft touts Ada as an example of “embedded intelligence,” AI that’s built-in and responsive to our real-world environment. McDuff also hopes that his emotion tracking technology, as dystopian as it might sound, could have solutions in healthcare or other caregiving situations. (Microsoft employees are able to opt-out of individuated tracking and they assure that all identifying info is removed from the media collected). Ada is part of a broader push to embed sensing and artificial intelligence into the built environment by Microsoft and many other companies, as well as artistic pavilions that grapple with the future of AI in our built world, like Refik Anadol's recent project at New York's ARTECHOUSE.
There have been many uses proposed for drones: photography and videography, certainly; package delivery, and aerial 3D mapping. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have proposed yet another possibility for these scaled-down aircraft—as flying nailguns. While the FAA may have banned people from attaching flamethrowers to their octocopters, U of M researchers say the armed DJI-S1000 is here to help humans, not hurt. By creating an autonomous roofing robot, they hope they can spare humans from doing the dangerous job of applying asphalt shingles. With location markers and video cameras sending imagery to be processed through a modified version of ArduPilot, an open-source autopilot software, the drone is able to find the edges of the shingle, nail within a one-inch gap, and apply the adequate download pressure to nail the shingle to the roof. Currently, this drone roofer can’t compete with the speed of a human worker, and it only has a 10-minute lifespan, but the researchers hope they can connect the drone to a generator on the ground, as well as a pneumatic system to put in an upgraded nailgun. They also hope to upgrade the onboard sensing for more accurate, quicker wayfinding. The nail gun drones are just some of many proposals for using drone tech in AEC, ranging from the highly speculative, such as GXN’s proposal for flying skyscraper repair robots, to the in-use—such as many contractors' application of drone photography on job sites. Everything including using drones for painting has been proposed by researchers, but even as technology improves, drones are still only suited to replacing the most monotonous and dangerous human tasks.
In Tallinn, Estonia, a knotted wooden structure that combines both new and old technology has won the Huts and Habitats award at the Tallinn Architecture Biennale. Curated by Yael Reisner under the theme “Beauty Matters,” the biennale seeks to celebrate the beauty in opposition to architectural environs that can often be isolating, alienating, and ecologically unsound. Steampunk, as the installation is called, is designed to show off the latest in tech while retaining a human touch. It was designed by Soomeen Hahm and Igor Pantic, who both teach at the Bartlett, as well as Cameron Newnham and Gwyllim Jahn of software company Fologram, and constructed along with the engineers at Format and the Estonian lumber building specialists Thermory. Standing 13 feet tall, the thermally-modified pavilion is made of steam-bent ash wood, with hand-crafted elements sitting side-by-side with parts that have been CNC-milled and 3D printed; blurring the boundaries between the analog and digital in process and production. Steampunk was also designed in part using mixed reality tech, further complicating this “human-machine collaboration,” as biennial juror Areti Maropoulo put it. “The structure challenges the idea of the primitive hut—showing how, by using algorithmic logic, simple raw materials can be turned into a highly complex and inhabitable structure,” said Gilles Retsin, TAB 2019’s Installation Program Curator, in a release from the biennale. “[Steampunk] consists of a bespoke merging of craft, immersive technologies, and material performance, for the production of dynamic organic forms that surpass building limitations of local precision or of the pure automate,” explained Areti Markopoulo, head of the jury for the installation program, in a press release. The pavilion is the latest in a long line high-tech timber installations, as architects, researchers, and educators all try their hand at pushing the boundaries of what timber can do; take Cornell University’s Robotic Construction Laboratory's LOG KNOT, for example. Steampunk will be on view until 2021.
As architects further blur the lines between science and design, lab and studio, and academia and practice, the experiments that arise from architect’s labs are changing the way the profession operates. With new digital fabrication and design tools and the university-fueled facilities to play with them, architects are able to reach in and engage with the physical construction process of their buildings more than ever before, altering a professional cultural divide that has been occupied by stonemasons, engineers, and contractors for millennia. “Really, this is an opportunity for architects to get back a lot of power they’ve lost over the last century,” said Fabio Gramazio, “We finally have the tools to take these risks.” Gramazio is a cofounder of Gramazio Kohler Architects, along with partner Matthias Kohler. But in 2000, the firm expanded into Gramazio Kohler Research (GKR) with the support of ETH Zurich, where the two both teach. The duo started tinkering with industrial robots, like those found in automobile factories, in the early aughts when they adapted the programmable arms for specific, repeatable building tasks like stacking bricks. However, they’ve come a long way since 2000. How to Build a House, an exhibition on the future of digital architectural fabrication, opened at the Cooper Union last Thursday and showcases a body of research at GKR and their partners from the renowned DFAB House, Benjamin Dillenburger and Mania Aghaei Meibodi. The four architects walked me through the exhibition space, where pieces of their experiments on architectural robots, large-scale 3D printers, and VR visualizations were curated by Hannes Mayer. Displaying a sensuality through its intense realism, the exhibition breaks new ground and questions the role of the architect in the profession of architecture as well as in the traditional context of a construction site. The technologies on display were adapted by these architects and tested for the first time in the real world with the construction of DFAB house, which was built on the third tier of the NEST building in Zurich. The inhabitable three-story structure is the first to be built almost exclusively with robots and digital technologies, designed from the computer screen up. “But there’s no repetitiveness anywhere—except for maybe the screws,” said Dillenburger. For the designers, the process of building the house itself was also a process of changing perspective and expectation. The new opportunities for digitizing age-old building methods like pouring concrete slabs, assembling timber structures, and shaping formwork further an already pressing question the profession is facing. As Kohler asks of his colleagues, “Is research the future of architecture, the core of the profession?” But the technologies themselves, and their presentation, reinforce their reality and existence in the "now"—this is not a futuristic exhibition. Mayer has adroitly positioned standout pieces of text, like “Architect” and “A Robot” amidst 1:1 models of digitally fabricated, full-size mullions, real-time process videos, and even a complete piece of a detailed, 3D-printed concrete slab. “It evokes an attractive industrial logic, as well as suggests a recipe,” says curator Mayer, gesturing to the thick black text that accompanies the eye as visitors travel around the non-linear exhibition floor, including the larger-than-life title type of How to Build a House. And this recipe is still being tinkered with. “Concrete, like architecture, is only limited by convention,” Dillenburger told AN as he gestured to 3D-printed concrete details. “It can be freed if we change our ideas about what it should look like.”
Three Dutch organizations—the materials company DSM, the engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV, and the 3D printer manufacture CEAD—have teamed up to create a printer capable of printing continuous glass- or carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics. Currently, they are demonstrating the capabilities of printing structural elements, and even, they hope, entire pedestrian bridges, with CEAD’s CFAM Prime printer which can create parts as large as 13 feet by six-and-a-half feet by five feet. While formwork molds have previously been created by large-scale printers and then used in turn create structural parts, this is one of the earlier examples of the potential of 3D printing to create large polymer structural elements, and, possibly, entire bridges. The firms say that combining polymers with continuous fibers allows for the construction of lightweight, high-strength elements ideal for infrastructure solutions, and while other 3D printed building materials have run into trouble when it comes to cold temperature and exposure to the elements, the designers hope that these fiber-and-plastic combos can weather storms as well as any traditional building—though it remains to be seen if these 3D-printed elements would be able to address the brittleness problem sometimes faced when plastics are used for larger structures. Maurice Kardas, the business development manager of Royal HaskoningDHV, told 3Dprint.com that “fiber-reinforced plastic bridges have been known for their long life spans and lower overall costs in comparison with steel bridges. Now we will be using a new 3D printing technology which lets us at scale make fiber-reinforced plastic parts. through adding sensors to the bridge we can make a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge itself. these sensors can predict and optimize maintenance, ensure safety and lengthen the life span of bridges.” While the team cites sustainability as a possible benefit—noting the polluting nature of concrete—these forms still rely upon plastics, in this case Arnite which is a rigid PBT or PET. Composites like these remain notoriously difficult to recycle, and are often petroleum-based. Still, additive manufacturing processes often produce less waste, take less time, and hopefully, will offer durability advantages over other existing processes.
This summer, to celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus, the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in Weimar, Germany, hosted an exhibition called sumaery2019. At the exhibition, the university showcased some of the latest innovations in robotics, displaying a cable-driven robot that 3D printed cementitious material, designed by a team led by professor Jan Willmann, in cooperation with the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and the University of Duisburg-Essen. The robot extruded and deposited layers of the "concrete" onto a platform to create a shell around a large steel structure. The robot moved over long distances across four cables, similar to how cameras work for sports broadcasts. (the Weimar robot also featured a high-resolution camera to capture what it was doing). The benefits of the robotic cable system, according to Willmann, is its ability to “to perform a variety of non-standard building processes, beyond the workspace restrictions imposed by conventional CNC-machinery.” He goes onto explain that “this means that the required components can be produced at full-scale, on-demand, on-site, and in practically unlimited forms and sizes, eliminating the need for additional formwork, transportation over long distances, and standardized parts.” The researchers hope that the robot showcased new possibilities in computational design and formwork-less additive manufacturing. “The results not only demonstrate the innovative aesthetic and functional potential of the robotic process," said Willmann, "they also provide a fascinating insight into the future of digital design and the manufacturing process in a real-world scenario.”
This May, designer Jou Doucet x Partners, working with the Times Square Design Lab (TSqDL), debuted a 3D-printed concrete alternative to the now-common heavy concrete planters, bollards, and more traditional “Jersey” barriers that surround public places and prominent buildings across the country. Anti-terror street furniture is the often ugly urban peripheral that plugs into our cities to add a new feature—specifically the capability to stop speeding vehicles and other terrorists attacks. Doucet’s design offers what he calls “a different, humanist approach to security.” The project was commissioned for the second annual TSqDL initiative, which was created to bring new design ideas to the public realm—specifically, New York's crossroads of the world that is visited by nearly half-a-million people daily. On display and in use since May, the Rely Bench comprises gently rounded, interconnected concrete platforms that each weigh over one ton. With its modular components connected with steel rods, the benches are designed to almost act like a net, catching a vehicle and absorbing its impact. The design is nice enough, but the real innovation is in the method used to make it. The Rely Bench is the first product to be manufactured through HyCoEx, a fully digital production method that street furniture company Urbastyle believes will “revolutionize the concrete furniture market”. Little information has been made available about the technology other than it uses an extrusion technique powered by a 3D printing robotic arm developed by Concrenetics and produced by UrbaStyle in partnership with Autodesk, ABB and Cementir Group. Though extrusion is common with plastics, HyCoEx is the first method to adopt it for concrete; other methods primarily use deposition, layering concrete to build the final form. The benefits of 3D printing over traditional concrete casting include lowering production costs resulting from reduced waste material and the lack of required mold. Indeed, Urbastyle believes that the HyCoEx method “may one day completely replace mold production.” Perhaps most significantly, HyCoEx empowers designers to efficiently create any form or surface pattern they can imagine. The company sees it as a type of “artisan” technology that removes the separation between design and fabrication. The Times Square installation was just a prototype of the design and technology, but prepare to see more of both soon. The Rely is currently being tested against international crash barrier standards.
For the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland students in the Masters of Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication program at ETH Zurich, guided by researcher Ana Anton, 3D printed nine unique, computationally-designed columns with a new layered extrusion printing process developed at the university over the past year and a half. ETH students and researchers created nine unique, 9-foot-tall concrete columns that came together as an installation titled Concrete Choreography. The arrangement of undulating columns served as an environment for dance performances. “The columns create the stage and set for the artists to dance in between, in front, around, to hide, climb and interact in many ways with this unique, monolithic architecture,” explained Anton. “Each column has its own particular expressivity and dynamics, just like the dancers.” The students used an automated, formwork-less process, called Concrete Extrusion 3D Printing (CE3DP), a printing method that continuously deposits and extrudes concrete in .2-inch-thick layers to create complex geometries. Anton has been experimenting with the process for a year and a half, as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between ETH's Digital Building Technologies and the chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials. Anton says that for the column’s nine unique forms, “students worked towards finding unique designs suitable to this fabrication method, meaning more fluid geometries locally detailed using material-driven ornament,” going on to say that the geometries they worked with are only possible because of the high-resolution printing of CE3DP. ETH’s Digital Building Technologies lab claims this method comes “with the advantage of precise, digitized shape customization [that is] ideal for the creation of freeform shapes that would be impossible to produce with any other technology on the market.” CE3DP also has the added advantage of being fast; the columns each took just 1.5-to–2.5 hours to create. According to Anton, “The forest of columns should work both as performance space but also as an outdoor installation which invites visitors to explore the garden before and after the dance.”