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3D printed functional pieces of art

3 of the 14 homes inspired to art sculpture using 3D printed steel exoskeleton. Image credit: Yanko Design

Just two days ago I posted the news of 3D printed up-scale housing in Texas and now I stumbled onto the news of another, although quite different, use of 3D printing to build houses. In this case it is Mask Architects, a young architectural design firm based in Sardinia, Italy,  and Istanbul, Turkey, that is using 3D printed steel exoskeleton as support structure for small homes that have been built on a hill slope near Orani in Sardinia. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the Sardinia’s National Museum hosting the sculture masterpieces of Costantino Nivola from whom they draw inspiration for the homes architecture.

As you can appreciate in the video clip below, Mask Architects explore new shapes of building that make them to be perceived like scultures, pieces of art. This calls for the application of new construction technologies supporting the kind of shapes they want to create.

For one of their latest projects, the construction of a residential complex on the slopes of a hill in Sardinia, they turned to 3D printing of steel. That allowed them to create amazing shapes with steel, using it as a structural exoskeleton for the houses and supporting the construction inside. The shapes have drawn inspiration from a travertine sculpture, La Madre, of Nivola, that can be seen in the nearby Sardinian’s National Museum.

Indeed, one of the advantages of 3D printing is the possibility to build objects bottom-up creating forms and structures that would not be possible with forging, casting and stamping. This is why GE and Boeing are using 3D printing for the blades of engines and turbines. They can get the exact shape desired, with lower weight and increased structural strength.

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) keeps expanding and we are going to see many applications in this decade.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.