Michael Hansmeyer, Benjamin Dillenburger
ETH – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich


Computational design allows for architecture with an extraordinary degree of topographical and topological complexity. Limitations of traditional CNC technologies have until recently precluded this architecture from being fabricated. While additive manufacturing has made it possible to materialize these complex forms, this has occurred only at a very small scale. In trying to apply additive manufacturing to the construction of full-scale architecture, one encounters a dilemma: existing large-scale 3D printing methods can only print highly simplified shapes with rough details, while existing high-resolution technologies have limited print spaces, high costs, or material attributes that preclude a structural use. This paper provides a brief background on additive manufacturing technology and presents recent developments in sand-printing technology that overcome current 3D printing restrictions. It then presents a specific experiment, Digital Grotesque project, which is the first application of 3D sand-printing technology at an architecture scale. It describes how this project attempts to exploit the potentials of these new technologies.

additive manufacturing, 3D sand-printing, computational design, digital fabrication, subdivision



SAJ Vol. 5, 2013, No. 2