This room, conceived and created by architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, might not be the world's first 3-D printed structure. But the design, which they call Digital Grotesque, is almost definitely the most ambitious: computer algorithms designed the 3.2-meter-tall, 16-square-meter room, which has a whopping 260 million (!) surfaces. And instead of being made of plastic (3-D printing's go-to material), it's printed from sand. Plus, it looks incredible--much more like a real-life, human-built room than any other 3-D printed structure, albeit one that's half Roman temple, half H.R. Giger nightmare.
"We think it's the world's first 3-D printed room," Hansmeyer tells us in an email, "in the sense that it's fully structural and has a complex surface, it's self-supporting, and it's massive (11 tons)."
To create Digital Grotesque, Hansmeyer and Dillenburger first relinquished some control of the project to math. The duo used algorithms to let computers randomly design the room, which was printed in Zurich. (The team designed an overarching model, but many of the details are the work of algorithms.) With a digital version of the room in hand, they used sand as the material, along with a binding agent, to print large chunks of the room--up to 4 meters tall by 1 meter wide by 2 meters deep. After that, they assembled the room piece by piece from the sandstone material. The entire process took one year to design, one month to print, and one day to assemble.
No, nobody will be living in it--the structure's more art project than studio apartment. If you don't mind some art-speak, this is the architects' explanation: "In the Digital Grotesque project, we use these algorithms to create a form that appears at once synthetic and organic. The design process thus strikes a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected, between control and relinquishment." But, hey, maybe we can look forward to our own robot-designed sand castles one day.
Whereas I don't mean to be dismissive of the fact it is beautiful and impressive, I have to admit I am most curious as to how such amazing surfaces might impact acoustics if they were to line all walls and the ceiling within an enclosed room. Regardless of my curiosity I would imagine that this creation is quite a spectacle in person.
Impressive... but hardly a "room"... it's a wall panel or at most, a pair of wall panels. But a room it is not.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
Really neat, but the joints sure are distracting.
Printing buildings our of unreinforced concrete is a dangerous idea. Our interface is like a 3D printer but we make steel space frames the size of city blocks. We're doing a live build at a festival in Phoenix on October 4th and an installation at a local art museum soon. You can try the technology out now for free. Look up 'arcology now'. Click on the A! sign and go to design competition. Give it a shot.
my friend's half-sister makes $72 an hour on the internet. She has been laid off for six months but last month her pay check was $15553 just working on the internet for a few hours. link www.jobs35.com
OMG, I looked at it and thought “what a heat exchanger you could make with this tech.
Sand is a poor heat conductor, but if the binder contained, say, aluminum powder...
You could print a MASSIVE heat exchanger to reclaim heat from waste water, power plants, your house...
You like fresh air, but in the Winter you like to be warm, too.
Well, if you could print a heat exchanger of tiny tubes with this level of intricacy, you could pull in fresh air while venting warm air and have the best of both worlds.
And of course, the water going down the drain in your shower is nice and toasty; you could use it to preheat the incoming cold water.