A team of California-based architects has built the world’s first architectural structure using only 3D printing technology. The 10 x 10 x 8 foot pavilion, which is named Echoviren after a special type of coastal redwood, was completed last weekend. Architecture studio Smith|Allen designed a total of 585 individual biodegradable plastic components which were 3D printed over the course of two months, and assembled onsite in just four days.
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Architects across the world have been racing to build the world’s first 3D printed architectural structure. Many of the designs, like the ‘endless’ Möbius-inspired house by Dutch studio Universe Architecture, are close to being built. What is different about Echoviren is the system itself – instead of using huge printers, the architects looked at aggregation as the most efficient construction system.
Echoviren is located in a redwood forest at Project 387, an arts residency program near San Francisco. The designers pictured it as a structure that will integrate with the forest over time and become a micro-habitat for insects, moss and birds. In an interview for Dezeen, Bryan Allen called it “a technological echo, a reflection, and specter of life and of the forest.”
Each of the structure’s components was made from the PLA bio-plastic that takes 30 to 50 years to fully decompose. The pyramidal sections make up the self-supporting circular wall that has the top part functioning as a compression ring. The pattern used for the structure was inspired by and based on cellular forms of sequoia cells, which allows for a great amount of strength while maintaining minimal volume.
The team used 7 of the Type A Machines Series 1 printers and worked with Ron Rael at Emerging Objects and at Berkeley to develop new materials. All attempts to built the structure using ZCorp, BFBs or Makerbots failed or were too costly. According to Allen, the Series 1 enabled the designers to 3D print large pieces reliably and at an acceptable price.