EDG, a New York city based architectural design studio, is using 3D printing to restore and recreate intricate details in historic architecture.
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”
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.
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Featured image shows a render of a facade produced with 3D printing. Image via EDG.