The Digital Grotesque project isn’t the first example of 3D-printed architecture we’ve seen; Dutch firm DUS Architects has led the way, developing an 11.5-foot custom 3D printer that it plans to use to print an entire house. But Dillenburger’s and Hansmeyer’s Digital Grotesque project is significant because it shows the possibility of developing increasingly complex architectural shapes using 3D printers.
Dillenburger and Hansmeyer say that their design process is inspired by cell division. “We develop an algorithm that iteratively divides and transforms the initial geometry of a simple cube,” they explain. “Despite simple rules, a complex world of forms arises at multiple scales: between ornament and structure, between order and chaos, foreign and yet familiar: a digital grotesque.”
The team designed the small space using subdivision and mesh grammars, and because of its complexity they say that the room contains 80 million surfaces. “The architectural elements of digital tectonics are microscopic: algorithms articulate millions of surfaces into forms, and printers now bind millions of grains of sand to stone,” they explain. The 1:3 scale model that they unveiled in Switzerland this week is extremely ornate, and the addition of gold leaf makes it look even flashier. The entirely enclosed, full-scale room will be unveiled on July 22.