Wisdom Bay hosts China’s first 3D printed concrete bookstore

A project carried out by the Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture has successfully constructed a 3D printed concrete bookstore in Shanghai’s Wisdom Bay Innovation Park.

The bookstore is due to open to the public at the end of January, and was printed on-site in three weeks, project lead He Yuting told the Global Times.

The building, which will reportedly be China’s first 3D printed concrete bookstore, is the latest in a string of structures based at the innovation park that have been designed and built using additive manufacturing.

Rendering of the 3D printed bookstore. Image via Wisdom Bay Innovation Park.
Rendering of the 3D printed bookstore. Image via Wisdom Bay Innovation Park.

3D printing in Wisdom Bay 

Built on the former site of a wool textile mill, the Wisdom Bay Innovation Park has been named Shanghia’s first popular science park. Here, more than 300 companies from across the globe engage in 3D printing, intelligent micro manufacturing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) robotics projects. Wisdom Bay is also reportedly home to the world’s only 3D printing museum.

In 2019, a 26.3 meter-long and 3.6 meter-wide concrete bridge, hailed the world’s largest at the time, was completed and installed in the park. The project was also carried out by Tsinghua University, which 3D printed the concrete components in 450 hours.

Constructing the bookstore

The project team used “fiber concrete” as the 3D printing material to construct the bookstore in order to resist compression and earthquake effects. Equipped with an underfloor heating system, the building has a floor space of 30 square meters and is able to accommodate 15 people at any one time.

The team printed the structure in three parts. The main outer round wall was printed in-situ, while the roof and the remaining part of the outer wall were printed separately. Now that the printing of the bookstore has been completed, it will be decorated before opening to the public at the end of January.

Featured image shows the ICON and US marines' 3D printed concrete vehicle hide structure. Photo via ICON.
Featured image shows the ICON and US marines’ 3D printed concrete vehicle hide structure. Photo via ICON.

A new chapter for concrete 3D printing

Concrete 3D printing is being increasingly utilized within the building and construction sector, in many cases providing a cheaper, faster, and low-waste alternative to conventional construction techniques. Optimizing the concrete printing process has been the subject of several recent and ongoing research projects, as has the development of new concrete compositions suitable for rapid additive manufacturing and innovative printing methods.

The US Governent’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has previously demonstrated the potential military applications of concrete 3D printing in partnership with Texas-based construction firm ICON, while concrete specialists QUIKRETE and Contour Crafting Corporation (CC Corp) have partnered for the automated construction of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in Los Angeles using CC Corp’s concrete printing technology.

Facilities dedicated to the advancement of concrete 3D printing have also sprung up, including 3D concrete specialist Vertico’s new concrete printing facility in Eindhoven which is designed to accelerate its commercial and architectural building applications. Elsewhere, the American University in Dubai announced plans to establish a scientific research center for 3D printing concrete buildings in collaboration with Dubai-based 3D printing service bureau, 3DVinci Creations.

Contour Crafting's 3D concrete printing technology. Image via CC Corp.
Contour Crafting’s 3D concrete printing technology. Image via CC Corp.

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Featured image shows rendering of the 3D printed bookstore. Image via Wisdom Bay Innovation Park.