We begin this inaugural post with an example of architectural 3D printing from a current leader in the field: UC Berkeley. Assuming the reader is somewhat familiar with 3D printing (if not, please see the links below for the sculpture’s history and specifications) we move directly to its analysis.
To address its aesthetic qualities first: the overall form is a 4-way radially symmetrical complex curve which is then inverted and rotated 45 degrees on its lower half. A vegetative motif is fused into the structure itself underlining the amount of customization possible with 3D printing while still retaining structural integrity. The take away is that such topographically complex curves are not realizable in traditionally formed concrete.
The structure is made from a cement-based iron-oxide free polymer. A class of printable material I have long advocated for. However the method of production leaves much to be desired; it being composed of 840 bricks, collected into 11 panels, and then assembled on site. From a purely architectural stand point it would have been more efficient to use a print-in-place technique, resulting in reduced labour costs, but I suspect in this case its segmented nature is an advantage because of the sculpture’s need to travel to different exhibitions around the world.