Bringing classical architecture back with 3D printing

EDG, a New York city based architectural design studio, is using 3D printing to restore and recreate intricate details in historic architecture.

Render of a facade produced with 3D printing. Image via EDG.
Render of a facade produced with 3D printing. Image via EDG.

Classical style, 3D printed

Inspired by the slated demolition of a historical building on New York’s Fifth Avenue, EDG began planning financially viable ways to restore other old buildings.

Speaking to Designboom, EDG said “Facade ornamentation in the classical style remains impossible to produce by current means. Architectural hand sculpting would be an exorbitant luxury if not also a lost art, laser cutting remains prohibitively expensive, and precast concrete is creatively limiting.”

3D printing solid architectural parts remains cost and time prohibitive. Instead, EDG uses 3D printed plastic molds to produce architectural features on site, within a day. 3D scanning old parts allows the company to create molds for even the most intricate parts, including Corinthian columns, colonnades, cornices and whole facades.

The UK architecture firm Arup worked with Italian architecture firm CLS Architetti to produce a concrete 3D printed house using a CyBe 3D printing arm, as part of Milan Design Week. The project had more utilitarian goals, featuring minimal ornamentation, compared to the handcrafted detail sought by EDG.

EDG director Richard Unterthiner said the company “strongly believes in this historically rich architectural language, which everyone loves, but has forgotten how to speak”

A mold 3D printed by EDG, to produce the column on the right. Photos via EGD.

Preserving cultural heritage, constructing the homes of the future

3D printing has also been used to preserve the cultural heritage of archaeological sites in Syria, following bombing by ISIS. The Dubai Future Foundation 3D printed some of the destroyed artifacts, and displayed them at the “Spirit in the Stone” digital archaeology exhibition at the United Nations’ New York headquarters.

Spain’s first 3D printed house has been constructed by Be More 3D, a 3D printing construction startup, on the campus of the Technical University of Valencia. According to the company, the single-storey house was 3D printed in around 12 hours and used robot arms similar to those used by Arup and CLS Architetti.

For the latest 3D printing architectural news, subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Post a vacancy or find your next career move on the 3D Printing Jobs board. 

Vote in the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards, before it closes.

Featured image shows a render of a facade produced with 3D printing. Image via EDG.