Arcology Now! Launches Competition for Large-Scale 3D Printed Habitats
Design Competition Invites Futuristic Habitat Concepts to Use New Large-Scale Structure 3D Printing Technology
“We are practical futurists” — Brian Korsedal, CEO of Arcology Now!
Arcology Now! Inc. is opening it’s revolutionary structure printing technology to the public, and hosting a design competition so that anyone can experience and contribute to the future of building.
The company is looking for submissions in the form of 3D models that will be compiled into structures. The winning model will be built full scale in the front yard of their office, with approximate dimensions of 30 ft by 30 ft by 15 ft tall. This is the first chance for the public to have access to any technology which can digitally design objects of this size and complexity.
Details on the design challenge are located at: http://www.arcologynow.com/#!design-competition/c1fhk
What is Arcology?
Arcology is a set of architectural design principles for enormous habitats (hyperstructures) of extremely high human population density. These largely hypothetical structures would contain a variety of residential, commercial, and agricultural facilities and minimize individual human environmental impact. They are often portrayed as self-contained or economically self-sufficient.
The stated mission of Arcology Now! is to give people their freedom back. The productivity of the global workforce has gone up exponentially while free time and overall feeling of well-being has steadily declined. Arcology Now! wants to develop ways to apply our society’s amazing technologies to giving people back their freedom.
For example, how would a low cost automated greenhouse which produces fresh vegetables in a wide range of climates affect health, happiness and wealth? How about a low cost, energy efficient home? A car-less city focused on walk-ability, bicycle locomotion and public transit?
It’s a big vision, and so we sat down with the CEO to learn more.
Interview with Arcology Now! CEO Brian Korsedal
We spoke with CEO Brian Korsedal, also known as “microchip” to his team. He has a degree in physics and used to design computer chips. He’s always been fascinated with architecture, off-grid living, robotics, manufacturing, 3D printing and art. He calls himself fluent in English and Binary and has been working on this technology on and off for about six years.
On 3D Printing: What is Arcology Now! and what is your involvement with 3D printing?
Brian Korsedal: The goal of Arcology Now! is to start printing arcologies, NOW! Seriously. We’re tired of seeing all these fantastic visions for the future. All these pretty pictures with futuristic technologies and absolutely no idea how to actually make them happen. We firmly believe we have the technology to achieve the essence of these visions of the future using today’s technology and a little bit of ingenuity. We are practical futurists.
On 3D Printing: Why are you hosting this design competition?
Brian Korsedal: We really want to show the world our technology works. It’s been a struggle, but we successfully invented a technology which can manufacture warehouse sized objects and larger. We’re limited by height due to the physical properties of the materials we are using but we can build unlimited in the X and Y directions. We can compile objects 200ft by 200ft by 40ft right now. We can probably compile things a mile by a mile by 40ft when we switch to C/C++ or a faster programming language. Right now we are limited by how fast the designs can compile. So imagine huge, monolithic pancake arcologies crisscrossed with bike paths and public transit at a fraction of the cost of modern buildings.
Unfortunately, we’re a bit poor. Seriously, we live in the ghetto in Phoenix. We don’t have the cash to really show people what this technology can do. :( It’s a bit sad. So we hope showing the world that this technology works on the small scale will lead to bigger and bigger projects.
We are also really curious what people will make. The great thing about 3D printers is the democratization of design. It enables people to bypass all the roadblocks to manufacturing and levels the playing field. Poor but talented people can compete. Those people are near and dear to our heart. It enables millions and even billions of people to become designers. I’m sure there will be quite a few revolutionary designs that submitted to the competition.
We hope to run design challenges for most of our projects. We love the interaction with the public and we love seeing what people can do. So hopefully this leads to bigger and bigger design challenges. We also need to test out the steps in printing actual houses. We have a roadmap of challenges which will test out every stage in printing actual houses.
On 3D Printing: What do you hope to see in the competition?
Brian Korsedal: Ha ha, good question. We hope to be surprised. We hope to see things that we never thought about. This is the first public test of our system so I’m sure there will be a lot of new discoveries in design techniques. We’ve built 6 structures so far and we’ve developed a lot of techniques on how to design interesting structures, but we’re just two designers. We want to see what the world thinks up.
On 3D Printing: How will you 3D print the winning submission, considering it will be quite large?
Brian Korsedal: Our printing process is a bit unconventional. We’re practical futurists and we have to design within the limits of today’s technology. So we start with the best building material, steel. Steel is way better than concrete. It’s has an great strength to weight ratio. It’s recyclable. It’s cheap. Most other people are working with concrete and that kinda freaks us out. It’s just an accident waiting to happen. Imagine an unreinforced concrete structure in an earthquake? It’s very dangerous. Our structures are strong enough we can roll them around our yard and they retain their shape. The strength to weight ratio of our structures is phenomenal and they are low cost.
We manufacture our structures from steel tubes. We’ve invented a brand new process unlike anything else out there. We built software which auto-designs steel space frames which conform to a surface. Whatever surface you put into the software, it generates a frame to match that surface. Most people are confused why we call it 3D printing, but we firmly believe we’ve captured the essence of what a 3D printer is. To most people a 3D printer is a device you can put a digital design into and it just makes it. We satisfy that definition with today’s technology.
The assembly is very interesting too. We took an approach that works kinda like computer programming of humans. Our software generates stickers with all the assembly instructions embedded in the stickers using a code. We put these stickers on the bars and the bars become the instructions. It’s designed so structures can be built in parallel by large groups of people. Imagine the people are an old punch card computer and the bars are the punch cards. The punch cards contain the program specifying the assembly and the humans run that program to put things together. We can teach people the code in about 10 minutes and it’s so easy kids can assemble it. We have build parties. It’s like a techno version of a barn raising!
We’ve done things this way because we want it to be affordable. We will be half the price of regular housing or less. It’s a revolutionary breakthrough in design and manufacturing of structures. A democratization of building and we can do it NOW!
Here is a photo gallery of some of the work by Arcology Now!