Eindhoven, The Netherlands – 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 XL 3D printing has teamed up with the Technical University of Eindhoven department of Architectural Design and Engineering to create three impressive monolithic concrete columns, showcasing this digital design and construction innovation. The columns standing 3 meters tall and weighing only 300kg each, were revealed at this years’ renowned Dutch Design Week.
“The aim of this project was to focus on the aesthetic possibilities that are now available to designers and architects.
This technique enables us to produce three unique columns at virtually no extra cost.”
– Volker Ruitinga, founder of Vertico
The objects were built up in the same layered manner as other 3D printing techniques. However, unlike polymer printing, 3D concrete printing does not allow for significant overhang. Most projects include straight walls with curves only in the two-dimensional plane, meaning; the corners are rounded, but the objects themselves are straight and mainly perpendicular to the ground. To overcome this limitation, infill material is required much like in powder printing techniques. In this project, infill was used to support the double-curved surface of the columns.
The trigger for this project was the completion of this years’ Architectural Graduation Studio at the TU/e under Prof. Ir. Juliette Bekkering with tutors Arch. AvB. Sjef van Hoof, ir. Barbara Kuit and Zeeshan Ahmed. The columns themselves were designed by recent graduate Alessia Biffi in Rhino+Grasshopper under the supervision of Prof. Ir. Bekkering.
As part of their graduation, the students were asked to rethink the ‘Old Docks’ in Ghent and propose new designs for social functions. Themes include: light, connections, patterns, supporting materials and assembly – to discover aesthetic and sustainable qualities of 3D-concrete printing.
The project is featured in this years’ ‘Drivers of Change’ exhibition at Strijp-T during the Dutch Design Week. Here, the very best projects in which students from the Technical University of Eindhoven are displayed including the Lightyear One solar car, Tech United AI football team and the Sound Seeing drones.
Currently Vertico is working on 3D printing a compression only, concrete dome house. Production will start in February 2020 in collaboration with The Huizenprinters. Other completed projects include commissioned sculptures and an architectural façade.