The project was a vital proof of concept for the Large-scale Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM), a massive hybrid-manufacturing machine with metal additive and subtractive capabilities for parts up to five-metres-long (16.4-foot-long).
In 2016, as part of a consortium of corporations, universities and research and technology organisations, Foster + Partners was awarded an EU grant to develop, build and test a LASIMM - a world-first for 3D-printing in metal.
Foster + Partners’ role within the consortium was to demonstrate the potential of the technology within the design and construction sector - alongside BAE Systems in the aerospace industry and Vestas in the energy sector.
Apis Cor, the first company to develop specialized equipment for 3D printing in the construction industry, have completed 3D printed wall structures of a two-story administrative building for the Dubai Municipality.
Thanks to the unique design of Apis Cor’s 3D printer the structure of the building was built directly on-site without any extra assembly works. The total area of the building is 640m², which is larger than the printing area accessible when the Apis Cor’s 3D printer is stationary. However, the Apis Cor 3D printer is mobile and was moved around the construction site by crane.
The whole process took place in an uncovered area, meaning such critical environment requirements for 3D printing material like temperature and humidity were uncontrolled, with the process going floor by floor.
The house was printed in one piece with a fixed printer, the largest 3D concrete printer in Europe, making it a world first.
Kamp C believes that new technologies, such as 3D concrete printing, can help reduce the industry’s consumption of materials and energy, reduce CO² emissions and the waste stream, the demand for high quality and affordable housing is on the rise, and so on.
The model home was designed to showcase the technology and the potential of 3D printing. “We printed an overhang, it has heavily curved walls, different types of walls… We also incorporated solutions to the traditional thermal bridge, eliminating cold bridges altogether”, says Ascione. “We developed a low energy house, with all the mod cons, including floor and ceiling heating, special façade solar panels and a heat pump, and we will also be adding a green roof.”
Taking reference from the lightweight geodesic dome system of ‘Mars Camp’ which is located on a plot near the site, the design team envisioned a novel system of 3D printed panels that can be deployed onto a CNC bent, steel pipe system.
This serene desert landscape has been a stage for many space-age movies such as ‘The Martian (2015)’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)’ and ‘The Last Days on Mars’.
The company used generative design methods to simulate a holistic structure: a hybrid of a 3D printed polymer shell on 3D printed concrete topography.
Christina Ciardullo and Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman from Space Exploration Architecture talk about human-centred design, the advantages of 3D printing in architecture and how designing for living on the Moon and Mars can teach us more about how we should be building for Earth.