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3D printed architecture

The project is a concept for a 3D-printed office complex. In this proposal, we wanted to apply our view on 3D printed architectural construction to a building of common usage. The design is directly inspired by the cultural and geographical context of the Middle East since local architecture and the special climate condition are the driving factors of the project.

Selected for the Architecture Festival in partnership with RIBA Gulf and the support of RIBA.

The buildings are characterized by 3Dprinted clay walls, a strategy to embed thermal absorption and structural performance in ones. The walls are defined by a series of pipe-like elements intersecting each other. The intersection makes the wall stronger, but not only, it also generates a series of void chambers. Some of them are used to cast the concrete pillars, with no need for additional molds and at the same time, they function as a thermal insulator.

The particular striated pattern, created by the typical 3D printed layers, plays an important role to link with traditional architecture. The projection of the pipes helps to have an irregular surface, generating shadow on itself. Not only, the configuration of these elements facilitates to define of vertical apertures, hiding within the pattern, that in this case can profit of the shadow and so not being directly under the influence of the sun.

The 3D printed clay wall is designed to be built directly in the construction yard using robotic manufacturing technology. The components are then placed in the correct position and after the insertion of the steel reinforcements, the concrete could be poured inside the dedicated cavities to structurally consolidate the wall.

We thought of this construction typology for its compatibility with the desert environment, both for its interaction with the sand, which is no longer a dirty element but an element that integrates with the building and somehow completes it.

In the above images, you can see that the entire building is a complex of smaller units that are connected to the upper levels and contracting at the bottom to define funnel-like shapes. This configuration is able to create internal continuity and at the same time a rich articulation of the ground level with gateways and plazas of different sizes. The aim was to guarantee a continuous connection between the surroundings and the public space, even if the masses act also as a filter, generating at the end, a porous boundary. The buildings are playing together, for example with their height, to generate comforting shadows areas and the narrow gateways allow to have air flows at the ground level. The opaque walls that are always under the shadow are then substituted by vast glass facades able to expand the inner spaces to the outer ones, connecting in this way the masses’ spaces with the voids’ ones.

With Cristian Li Voi

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