5 Benefits of Using 3D Printing in Facade Architecture and Construction

A building’s facade
is a challenging, multi-functional aspect of the structure that carries a lot
of responsibility and expectations. It acts as a barrier and protects the
inside from the elements, determines how much light enters the space and also
provides the overall aesthetic to the building. Find out how architects are
using 3D printing to streamline architectural design and construction
processes, freeing up more time and costs to continue innovating.

Facade” from ETH Zurich Uses 3D Printing to Produce Complex Geometric Shapes

Deep Facade is a 6×4 meter aluminium structure composed of 26 sections of looping metal cast in a 3D printed open sand mold. It was created by students from the Digital Fabrication course at ETH Zurich in 2018 and evokes the folds of the cerebral cortex. This process makes use of the computational design method called topology optimization, where lightweight material can be used to create highly stable and efficient structures. They used binder jetting technology to fabricate the sand molds which allowed them substantial geometric freedom and sped up the fabrication process due to fast printing time, eliminating patternmaking and reducing material waste. The complexity of the geometric shapes of Deep Facade would not have been possible without the use of digital design and 3D printing. Each mold took under 12 hours to print and once printing began the facade itself was formed in less than half a week. The students’ work on Deep Facade demonstrated that the production of parts with 3D printed sand molds was faster and cheaper than traditional mold making methods, and also showed how efficiently one of a kind complex geometric designs could be produced.

Additive Manufacturing Group’s “Facade 3000” Demonstrates the Potential for
Mass Individualization with 3D Printing

In Lupburg Germany, FIT created a 3D printed aluminium facade for its boarding house made up of panels each with its own complex pattern of cavities to showcase how to use 3D printing in construction to favor economical individualization. The panels each have a unique arrangement of cavity shapes, each created using aluminium inserts in the molds. They were able to produce 20 different panels simultaneously in rotation. This method of producing unique panel pieces demonstrates that 3D printing is a key resource when it comes to the future of cost-effective mass-individualization and customization in construction.

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First Building by COOKFOX Architects Finds Higher Productivity and Durability
with 3D Printed Molds

The new building at the site of the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY. consists of two interlocking structures with facades of all-white concrete precast from 3D printed molds. The crystalline facades were designed to emulate sugar crystals and are self-shading with each piece...