3D printed Concrete

Dancers at the Origen Festival in the Swiss Alps will perform around nine unique columns 3D-printed in concrete by students from ETH Zurich.

The masters students produced the columns using a new process, developed at the technology school, that allows for the fast 3D-printing of concrete structures completely without formwork or any other kind of mould.

Titled Concrete Choreography, the series of structures took less than two-and-a-half hours to print in the lab using an industrial robot arm that extrudes concrete in precise layers.

"This can reduce the ecological footprint of concrete construction by entirely removing the formwork and by using less concrete," PhD researcher Ana Anton, one of the teaching team at ETH Zurich's Digital Building Technologies unit, told Dezeen.

"We are able to strategically place the material only where needed," she added.

It also allows for completely bespoke designs, incorporating complex patterns that are only achievable through high-resolution 3D-printing — the layers of concrete the robot places down are just five millimetres thick.

For Concrete Choreography, the students aimed to create fluid-looking forms that showcased the idiosyncrasies of both the material and the process.

Their work extended to the inner structure of the columns, which had to add strength with minimal material.

"What makes our concrete printing approach outstanding is that we address both material efficiency and the aesthetic potential of this technology," said Anton.

The speediness of the process is helped by a special fast-setting concrete mix, developed by another research group at ETH Zurich.

Source Reference:  https://www.dezeen.com