PJHM recently invested in a 3D printer, to which everyone has stood around and oooooh’d and aaaaaah’d over. At first, Clyde, Mason, and James scratched their heads, trying to figure out exactly what they wanted to create – it has a limited printing size of 10″W x 6″D x 6″H. Since 3D printing is new to most of us and no one in the office has ever used Makerbot, everyone is still learning how to get the best out of the machine. So far, they have printed a cup shaped object (not sure what to call it), a miniaturized Empire State Building (5″ tall and took 1.75 hours to complete) and the Norris Knight, a future statue to be located at Norris Middle School.
But nothing remotely compares to “Digital Grotesque,” the first human-scale immersive space entirely constructed out of 3D printed sandstone. This is truly 3D printing at its finest.
Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger teamed up with an eight person fabrication team to create a 172 square-foot room. The design consists of two individual halves (Aediculae) that form a volume – the grotto. While on the outside the grotto presents itself as a flat cubical volume, on the inside lies a complex geometry, consisting of millions of individual facets.
The grotto was designed through customized algorithms, starting with a simple form that divides over and over again into complex geometries. When the division ratio is changed, an assortment of geometric forms are created. When all was said and done, the ‘Digital Grotesque’ algorithm created a form with 260 million individual parts.
As quoted from their website, “In computational design, the architect no longer develops form by pen on paper or by mouse in CAD program, but instead defines procedures to generate form. Shifting the design process onto this abstract level has a dramatic impact: Forms can be designed with a complexity and richness that would be impossible to draw by hand. Now these complex forms can be brought out of the computer using additive manufacturing. Bits and bytes can be rendered directly into reality.”