Art & Sculpture

TUM undergoes testing of 3D printed façade for Munich’s Deutsches Museum

Associate Professor Moritz Mungenast from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and David Wolfertstetter Architektur (DWA), a German Architectural firm, are collaborating to design a 3D printed façade for the entrance of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Made from transparent plastic the 3D printed low-tech building façade is a result of the Mungenast team’s “Fluid Morphology” from 2017, and it is currently undergoing a year long trial as a section of TUM’s main building.

Subject to further testing, a full-scale version of the façade, termed “Gateway to the Future” will serve as a temporary entrance to the Deutsches Museum on the bank of Isar river as part of its ongoing renovation.

3D Printing a translucent building facades with integrated functions. Photo via Andreas Heddergott/TUM.
3D Printing a translucent building facades with integrated functions. Photo via Andreas Heddergott/TUM.

3D printing low-tech building façades

TUM’s 3D printed wall is a polycarbonate (PC) structure. It takes on a wave-like form, designed with embedded tubes, for the optimization of insulation, ventilation, and acoustics. Bumps visible in the 3D printed façade’s structure are filled with air and also aid in ventilation. Professor Mungenast explained, “Not only is the façade element very stable, it’s also translucent and multi-functional.”

According to Professor Mungenast, cells inside the façade element provide stability, optimum insulation conditions, and shade. These functions can be altered through the structures molding and scaled for integration on various buildings. The waves, in particular, can be arranged to cover the façade from heat or welcome light, depending on the season. As such, the 60 x 100cm samples continue to be tested under realistic conditions in TUM’s Solar Station to understand the material’s UV and temperature resistance.

The façades’ ongoing development is supported by German 3D printer manufacturers DeltaTower and 3D printing service provider Picco’s 3D World.

3D Printing a translucent building facades with integrated functions. Photo via Andreas Heddergott/TUM.
3D Printing a translucent building façades with integrated functions. Photo via Andreas Heddergott/TUM.

A world first?

In the year long trial at TUM this 3D printed PC wall, which measures 1.6 x 2.8 m, will deliver important data pack to the Mungenast team through an integrated network of sensors. This information will then be used to create further prototypes of the wall for practical use.

When applied to the Deutsches Museum’s architecture, the whole façade will measure approximately 45 m long and 15 m high, with a total weight between 8000 to 12,000 kg. It will also be made from recyclable PETG.

Wolfgang M. Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum comments“3D printing has always fascinated me personally. Also because it allows you to create completely new, surprising shapes and parts.”

“With Earth’s first 3D printed façade, we could even make the latest technologies widely visible.”

In January 2019, the museum was awaiting approval and the support of sponsors for the construction of the gateway.

Nocturnal view of the Deutsches Museum with translucent entrance facade. Illustration by Architekten Schmidt-Schicketanz und Partner GmbH/3F Studio, Visualisierung: nuur.nu
Nocturnal view of the Deutsches Museum with translucent entrance facade. Illustration by Architekten Schmidt-Schicketanz und Partner GmbH/3F Studio, nuur.nu

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Featured image shows an illustration of a finished building facade. Image via TUM.