April 10, 2013
This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award in the materials category. See the full list of winners here.
3D printing technologies have been all the rage in the tech and design industries for a couple of years now. Things may have peaked in 2012, the year that not only saw the most op-eds and media flurry devoted to the ethics and aesthetics of the “movement,” but also its widest applications in practical (and not-so practical) life. From toys and fashion lines to houses and even lunar bases, 3D printing can do it all, it seems, but the technology still seems beyond most of our means. For one thing, the printers themselves tend to be large, bulky, and expensive, while they’re also difficult to use.
“Building Bytes” seeks to change all of that. The project presents an entirely novel building technique, using small, desktop 3D printers to print “bricks” that can be stacked, arrayed, or interlocked to build structural walls. These bricks (or “bytes”) are made from a “liquid slip cast recipe” that hardens with the thickness and durability of earthen ceramics. As the unit prints, the material shoots out in strands in the outline of a chosen form, of which the designers have tested 4 variations: 1) columns and towers, 2) domes of interlocking bricks, 3) vertical tiling, 4) modular honeycomb stackable bricks. But if you’re savvy, you can of course design your own brick(s) and joint system to connect them.
Currently, the Building Bytes team is hard at work testing out different materials for printing their mass-customized bricks. Click through for more, plus a video showing how it all works.