3D Printing Architecture: 17 facts on the potential of this combination

If we can talk about 3D Printing Architecture is thanks to the people who have been pursuing the technology of 3D printing during the last decades. It was 1982 when Mr. Chuck Hull invented the Stereolithography and founded the first company in the field of 3D printing. 33 years have passed and the road made has gone far beyond what we imagined in those early years of gestation – the introduction of nylon, the use of colors, the fusion of metal powders, print on overlapping sheets achieving impressive levels of detail, introduction of new materials such as wood… Up to the turning point of the printer that replicates itself – which establishes the accessibility to these machineries – and up to the most recent applications into the field of architecture.

Of course we are still at the beginning of the 3D Printing Architecture, but what is even more certain is that this is a revolution, and even today, as 33 years ago we didn’t imagine exactly where we can get from here to the next 100 years. Below we explore some facts and anecdotes that in recent years have seen the application of 3D printing to the construction industry. A prequel to let you imagine about the radical changes that we’re going to face in the future.

[click on the images for further informations]

Chattanooga startup wants to 3D print your future house

3D Printing Architecture

“We have an algorithm that can generate geometry and robotic code to create this matrix,” Platt Boyd, founder and CEO of Branch Technology, says. “That open matrix is very lightweight. We fit them together like big Lego blocks on site, [and] then you apply construction materials on site to become a wall assembly in the field. If someone sends us a file, a CAD file, then we can produce that wall.”

World’s First 3D Printed Office Building, Complete With 3D Printed Furniture & Interior To Be Built in Dubai


A 20-foot tall 3D printer will use Special Reinforced Concrete (SRC), Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP), and Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum (GRG) to fabricate a structure that will host different functions. In this project we see one of the first application of this technology to build places of work, and not only that, unlike the Chinese houses (in the list down here), these offices also have an attractive design.

“This project reflects the vision of our leadership here in Dubai,” Al Gergawi, the Chairman of the UAE National Innovation Committee explained. “The idea of 3D printing buildings was once a dream, but today it has become a reality,” he added. “This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors. We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come.”

Joris Laarman designs steel canal bridge that will be 3D printed by robots

3D Printing Architecture

This is exactly what comes in mind when we talk about 3D Printing Architecture. We are in front of a pedestrian bridge for Amsterdam that will be 3D printed by robots. I think that it is an extraordinary step on the way to the future, imagine in how many ways this invention may be used…
“This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form,” said Joris Laarman – the Dutch Designer behind this incredible revolution. “The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds.”

NASA-approved 3D Printed Housing, Coming to a Planet Near You


When NASA speaks, it really means that the potential is very high. 3D printed objects starts being really big and their application truly revolutionary. In a competition approved by the Aerospace agency , the winner will be able to develop and implement an innovative process that automates the construction of an entire building – the contour crafting.

Foster + Partners Collab Aims to Make 3D Printing An Accessible Building Technology

3D Printing Architecture

Once realized the potential that this technology takes in architecture, one of the largest studiO in the world engages in “… Achieving a level of quality and efficiency Which has never been seen before in construction”

Super-strength 3D-printed Nanomaterial Minimizes Structure To Its Bare Bones


It is a material which attempts to overcome the physical limits of everything that is known so far – Thanks to a 3D printer of course. We’re talking about micro architecture. This strength is found in the geometric patterns that characterizes this material, which brace the structure against applied forces. A real technology with a lot of promises

Enchantment Made Easy: Behold a 3D-Printed Concrete Fairytale Castle

3D Printing Architecture

A magic Castle all printed in concrete – using 10 mm high layers of concrete That measure 30 mm in width. It is only the starting point of a series of goals that its inventor has set itself to reach

How 10 Houses Were 3D-Printed with Recycled Concrete in a Single Day

3d printing architecture

We’re talking about a Chinese construction company that USING a giant 3D printer – designed specifically by them – was able to build 10 houses in only 24 hours. This incredible machine produces a layered combination of discarded construction materials and cement. All at the modest price of $ 5,000 for a single house. Wow! This will change the world of architecture, there’s no doubt.

Behold: The World’s First 3D-Printed Room


Taking inspiration from a rich baroque ornamentation, this 3d printed room shows how IT is possible to achieve complex surfaces through these processes. Therefore, not necessarily a minimalist future…

How 3D Printing Saved This Frank Lloyd Wright Classic


The conservatives and more traditional restorers could disagree with what happened to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern College, but frankly this is yet another example of how you might use 3D printing in the construction world. Thanks to this innovation, it was possible to restore small parts of this architecture at a price vastly more lower than what would have been with a traditional intervention.

3D Printed Scale Model


A small model edited directly from Sketch Up and colored after its creation. The final result is quite amazing if we consider the minimum time required

Not Your Average Sand Castle: Solar-Powered, 3D-Printed Skyscrapers


Here there is an issue of Utopia. These are eco-friendly towers designed to be completely self-sufficient. They have been imagined by a team of Chinese designers and represent perhaps the most extreme vision around this technology – go in the deserts and found new cities to inhabit.

The Real SimCity: 3D-Printed Ittyblox Let You Build Ultra-Detailed 1:1000 Dioramas

3D Printing Architecture

Beautiful to look at, these micro models of buildings can be printed in 3D in a very small scale. I can’t tell you which is the actual purpose of these objects, but they are extremely detailed and give a lot of satisfaction!

Next Up In Architecture: ​3D Printers That Walk


We seem to look at the model of “The Walking City” by Archigram when we admire the work done at the California College of the Arts. This project integrates computer programming with the design building process. The result is a machine that students have created directly from the world of architecture. Imagine if the project of Ron Herron will be realized sooner or later…

Step inside the 3D printing factory


Bringing 3D printing at a different scale, the one of the materials, you can discover new technologies such as Dekton. An innovation produced in a factory in Almeira, Spain. It is a hyper-customizable material capable of becoming also flexible. Probably it stands as one of the protagonists of the products in the coming years.

Dock at the World’s First 3D-Printed House


Another example of 3d printing in architecture. A group of Dutch Architects decided to experiment the construction of a 3D house along a canal in Amsterdam. So they purchased a container and transformed it into a giant 3D Printer. It means bring the innovation process directly in public space, and this part of their program – even if it were the only- It is much more than great.

T-Rex or Vortex? 3D-Print a Fiercer Showerhead


Definitely not one of the most useful applications of 3D printing, but what about the face of your customers when you will propose a T-Rex in their bathroom?

*Except the first one, all the images (and the titles) are taken from Architizer, in which i previously made this collection on the site.

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3 Responses

  1. Very cool – I think that especially the opportunity for 3D models that are printed in full color are a next step forward. I have been experimenting with it also with the http://3yourmind.com platform to do 3-4 color models and then have them printed online. So far good – but not quite the “Sim City” quality you show here!

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