Tag Archives: architecture

3D Printing at Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona

3D Printing Gaudi Sagrada Familia

The world famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain was the life work of genius designer Antoni Gaudi. Construction started in 1882 and will not be completed until 2028. It is a massive structure featuring incredible towers, rich detailed facades, and complex architecture.

In the museum, one can see how Gaudi’s original designs are developed into full glory. 3D printing is one key tool workers use to prototype Gaudi’s designs at a model scale.

3D Printing Gaudi Sagrada Familia

The shop hosts two ZCorp 3D printers which can create the intricate models shown in the photo, as small as 1:2000 in size.

3D Printing Gaudi Sagrada Familia

Discharged binder solution cartridges are left on the side of the workshop.

It’s incredible to think that Gaudi designed this building without the use of these modern tools, whereas today’s designers rely on them to ensure the quality of their work.

Wow: 3D Printing a Lunar Base with Material Already on the Moon

Lunar Base 3D Printing

If you look back at the growth of civilization, we have progressed from building huts out of mud and rock to constructing massive skyscrapers with advanced machinery. Imagine now starting over on the moon. How would you go about constructing livable habitats on the moon? Would you transport everything from the Earth?

Similar to a process developed by Washington State University researchers we covered earlier, a concept developed by Foster + Partners proposes to use 3D printing to construct a lunar habitat from material already on the moon.

Foster + Partners is part of a consortium set up by the ESA to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. Addressing the challenges of transporting materials to the moon, the study is investigating the use of lunar soil, known as regolith, as building matter.

The practice has designed a lunar base to house four people, which can offer protection from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be transported by space rocket. An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer to create a protective shell.

To ensure strength while keeping the amount of binding “ink” to a minimum, the shell is made up of a hollow closed cellular structure similar to foam. The geometry of the structure was designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with consortium partners – it is groundbreaking in demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to create structures that are close to natural biological systems.

Simulated lunar soil has been used to create a 1.5 tonne mockup and 3D printing tests have been undertaken at a smaller scale in a vacuum chamber to echo lunar conditions. The planned site for the base is at the moon’s southern pole, where there is near perpetual sunlight on the horizon.

The consortium includes Italian space engineering firm Alta SpA, working with Pisa-based engineering university Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Monolite UK supplied the D-Shape™ printer and developed a European source for lunar regolith stimulant, which has been used for printing all samples and demonstrators.

Lord Foster: “This project is a significant and pioneering step in space age construction. Working with our European colleagues, it is part of our on-going commitment to research and innovation.

”Xavier De Kestelier, Partner, Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group:“ As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials – our lunar habitation follows a similar logic. It has been a fascinating and unique design process, which has been driven by the possibilities inherent in the material. We look forward to working with ESA and our consortium partners on future research projects.”


Image credit: ESA.

3D Printing Ideas Among 2012 “Science Fiction Become Facts” List

BuzzFeed posted an awesome list of the 27 Science Fictions that Became Science Facts in 2012. Among the list were ideas like invisibility cloaks, stem cell research, and self-driving cars. But 3 of the the 27 were stories about 3D printing innovations that we previously covered.


3D Printing Full-Size Houses

The D-Shape printer, created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story building out of sandstone. Covered by us here.

3D Printing D-Shape


3D Printed Jaw Implant Rescues 83-Year-Old Woman

In a groundbreaking first, a medical team created a method for using 3D printing to fabricate a functioning lower jaw implant in titanium. Covered by us here.

Dr. Ivo Lambrichts Displays 3D Printed Jaw


Cheap, Flexible 3D Printed Solar Photovoltaic Film

3D printing using silver ink could create cheap and flexible solar panels. Covered by us here.

Solar Photovoltaic Film


Read the full list of science fiction “facts” at BuzzFeed.

Video: Current and Future 3D Printing at Singularity University

Scott Summit 3D Printing

In the video below, Scott Summit, co-founder of Bespoke Innovations, explains the current state and future potential of 3D printing. He talks about architecture, jewelry, medical, and biological applications, among other topics. He also discusses business models of existing 3D printing players, such as Shapeways and Freedom of Creation. The video was recorded at Singularity University.

Guto Requena 3D Printed Designs Based on Urban Sounds in Sao Paulo

Guto Requena Sao Paolo 3D Printing

Guto Requena is one of Brazil’s most innovative up and coming architects. His work is based on the ever-evolving world of communication and technology, reflecting how these new advancements affect us.

Requena was recently profiled in the i.materialise blog.

As a little child Guto Requena always dreamed about architecture. Then finally, when he started studying architecture he became more and more interested in digitalism and technology. At this moment  he is one of the most innovatist architects of Brazil  and with his studio Estudio Guto Requena he tries to push the projects he really wants to do.

For this collection he uses these former iconic designs as basics but reforms the digital models by using recorded cityvoices, urban sounds,…etc. through a computer program. He recorded these noises in different neighborhoods on the streets of São Paulo. The eventual designs were 3D printed at Materialise and are references to the beautiful hidden places in São Paulo’s neighborhoods.

Below is a video of an interview with Guto Requena.