Politecnico di Milano’s architecture and construction engineering research unit was presentd an experimental 3D- printed archway prototype at Made Expo 2017 later last week.
The ACTLAB is the university’s centre for architecture computation technology. Researchers from the department showcased the archway, which combined 3D technology with biomimetic research, in Bsmart! Pavillion 10 of the architecture exhibition event from 8-11 March.
Encompassing the latest 3D technology and harnessing the biomimetic philosophy, and working in conjunction with WASP and FILO ALFA, the group believe they have underlined the potential of computational design and 3D printing for the construction industry.
The project focuses on the construction of an entirely 3D-printed Load-Responsive Shell Structure which is currently in production at Politecnico di Milano. A part of it was presented to Made Expo attendees for the duration of the show.
“The last decade has seen an exponential growth in demand for raw materials due to the rapid industrialisation of emerging economies and high material consumption,” said Roberto Naboni, architect and researcher at the Politecnico di Milano, and Ingrid Paoletti, Associate Professor in Technology of Construction at the Politecnico di Milano, in a statement. “This research looks at biological models and the opportunities offered by new additive manufacturing technologies to find sustainable solutions in the use of materials. Our goal is to study a new type of non-evolved standard, efficient and sustainable architecture.”
Utilising FILO ALFA’s high-performance biopolymer, the researchers have used Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to build the structure. The fabrication process of the building components has been made possible by WASP and its farm of Wasp Delta printers, which have ensured a highly accurate and consistent production process. The researchers believe WASP’s 3D printing technology has cut production times in half.
Calling on an impressive wealth of design, material and technology expertise, ACTLAB, with the help of its partners, has conceived an additive construction technique which they believe adaptively defines the material organisation of complex architecture.
“We looked into nature to understand how lightweight and resistant structures work with a minimised material use,” Naboni and Paoletti finish. “Studying the internal bone microstructure, we have created algorithms which allow us to generate three dimensional cellular structures, varying in topology and sizing, with the precision of a tenth of a millimetre.”