3D printing has become an established production technology for designers over the past years and is now taking the architecture and construction industry by storm with the advent of concrete additive manufacturing. In their latest project, Vertico has teamed up with Assistant Professor Cristina Nan to teach the seminar Concrete Futures, at department of Architectural Design and Engineering of the Technical University of Eindhoven. Students were invited to explore algorithm-aided design and to develop parametric columns for 3D concrete printing. The designs showcase experimentation with new material expressions for concrete, slicing techniques and algorithmic patterning strategies.
“The aim of this project is to focus on the aesthetic, algorithm-aided innovation that is now available to designers and architects. This technique enables us to produce unique columns at virtually no extra cost.”
– Cristina Nan, Assistant Professor TU/e
The seminar merges computational design, digital fabrication and an understanding of concrete’s material behaviour. The prototypes were built up in the same layered manner as other 3D printing techniques. Unlike polymer printing, 3D concrete printing does not allow for significant overhang. However, Vertico’s proprietary technology of Accelerated Concrete Printing aims to change this. Their printhead can produce angles of up to 60 degrees overhang; bringing the sought-after design freedom of polymer printing to concrete.
The columns were printed without formwork, at a height of 2.2m. The 3D printed columns are hollow, thus reducing weight and material use. Employing this type of material deposition strategy allows for a more sustainable fabrication approach than traditional concrete casting.