Cooper, Robertson & Partners prototype
Cooper, Robertson & Partners in New York is using 3D printing to make architectural prototypes to assist client-design communication.
3D-printed prototypes have changed the way one architectural design firm does business.
Jeremy Taylor of New York-based Cooper, Robertson & Partners is using 3D-printed prototypes to give his clients the full impact of his and his colleagues' architectural designs.
Fine-tuning designs in a way that is physical rather than consigned to a computer screen has proven to significantly impact the designs Mr Taylor's team implements, particularly in the case of one current project.
The architectural designer revealed that this latest project to receive the 3D printing treatment is a "true beach palace ... based loosely on the client's travels".
"We're making our client's dream come true."
And when it comes to turning both the architect's and the client's visions into a reality, 3D printing is helping the process along much more easily.
Rapid prototyping company ZoomRP.com - a division of Solid Concepts - has closed the gap between communicating the CAD data the architectural design team was using to plot the design for the beach palace and the client's own ideas.
Mr Taylor explained: "Many of the rooms have very complex geometry. This not only makes it hard for the clients to visualise our design intent from 2D drawings, it's also hard for our team to make adjustments and anticipate their effects."
He went on to clarify that tangible models are a key tool for bridging this gap, showing all involved exactly how the various geometries sculpt the spaces and relate to the property in a wider context.
"To continue using this technology in my professional career has proved very rewarding."
"I've been working with 3D printing since 2009, but to continue using this technology in my professional career has proved very rewarding," Mr Taylor stated, adding that "watching the team pick up the model - something we only just imagined the day before - and see it as a physical reality is really fun and amazing".
Additive manufacturing - or 3D Printing - has been used by firms for decades to portray the intentions of designers, but with printing costs decreasing and turnaround times increasing, it has become more viable to print a design, and then reprint overnight where necessary.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) has proven to be most effective for architectural designs due to its ability to map out and grow complex shapes that would not be achievable with any other manufacturing method.
The technology works by sprinkling a powder that is then heated layer by layer making it a quick build, as the designer just needs to dust off the extra powder to reveal the completed prototype.
When designing in any sphere requiring a physical end product, communication between the designer and client can sometimes be a challenge. Computer renderings are key in this industry, but having physical examples can facilitate or complement the communication process.
Mr Taylor concluded: "It's so much fun to make complex CAD models, send out the files and then see our creation come in the mail the next day."
Cooper, Robertson & Partners is a design firm founded on the core conviction that architecture and urban design are inextricably linked. No building or design component is seen as separate from its immediate landscape and overall environment.
ZoomRP.com is focused on providing a simplified offering of the lowest cost prototype products at lightning speed. The self-service website makes it easy for customers to select what they want and when they want it. ZoomRP.com is powered by Solid Concepts, a company that has pioneered the modern prototyping business since its inception in 1991.