Cooper, Robertson & Partners
3D printing is a game changer for Jeremy Taylor, an architectural designer at Cooper, Robertson & Partners— an architecture and urban design firm based in New York City.
Before the advent of 3D printing, it would not be unusual for an architect to model designs with their hands from wood, clay or other materials. Not only was this process massively time consuming but expensive too, and sometimes impossible to recreate complicated geometric shapes on such a small scale.
More commonly nowadays, a designer will use CAD software and virtual walkthroughs to help clients visualise designs. Although computer visualisations are imperative for a designer, the layman often has difficulties communicating their desires onto a virtual model. Now, with the aid of SLS 3D printing, a tangible model can be brought to life almost over night, at a fraction of the cost of traditional model making.
We saw an architectural use for 3D printing on a small scale at Maker Night in Liverpool last week, but Taylor’s project, a Beach Palace based of his client’s travels, is on another level to a new office floor plan.
“We’re making our client’s dream come true,” Taylor enthuses. “The new project is a true beach palace, its design based loosely on the client’s travels. We’re working hard to turn our shared vision into a reality. That’s where rapid prototyping company ZoomRP.com came in.”
“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,” explains Taylor. “It is important to have tangible models that show us exactly how these geometries sculpt the spaces and relate to the greater context of the house. I’ve been working with 3D printing since 2009, but to continue using this technology in my professional career has proved very rewarding. 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.”
It doesn’t just stop at models either; recently we saw a fascinating coupling of 3D printing and augmented reality to show not only exact dimensions of a building but interactive layers, like floor plans, moving surroundings and how light reflects off the building. Add to that the building of actual houses using 3D printing technology and you’ve got a rather exciting synergy between additive manufacturing and architecture.