Leapfrog's printing forbidden city
The Ming Dynasty is heralded by many scholars as "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history”. The Ming is known for the Great Wall of China as it stands now, a flourishing literature and arts movement and the stunning palatial architecture of the Forbidden City.
How could one museum recreate the some 980 buildings inside the UNESCO World Heritage site? With a helping hand from 3D printing that’s how!
De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam is hosting a Ming exhibition running from now until the 2nd February 2014. Amongst the many priceless Ming artefacts is a floor plan of the Forbidden City, visitors will notice the city growing from a two dimensional blueprint to a three dimensional architectural model on a daily basis. The reason behind this leap in dimensions is Dutch 3D Printing outfit Leapfrog, who are using two printers to print all 980 building on the floor plan.
Leapfrog engineer, Lucas Janssen said of the project: “Museum De Nieuwe Kerk asked us to collaborate in printing The Forbidden City and we immediately got very excited. For the museum it is a great chance to show visitors the enormous scale of The Forbidden City and for the project is suitable to help people envision the possibilities of 3D printing.”
Leapfrog are not just presenting these models for the good visitors of the De Nieuwe Kerk but are releasing the STL files online for anyone to download and print out (that’s #ThingiThursday sorted this week).
This experiment not only uses 3D printing as a novel exhibit for a museum but as proof of concept of 3D printing as a valid tool for architects. Lucas said of the technology’s architectural values of 3D Printing: “The project really shows the added value of 3D printing for this group. Before, architects had to make scale models using styrofoam, glue and scissors. Now they can simply press 'print' and their drawings come alive. It also shows 3D printing is not only suitable for printing a scale model of a single building, but also for an entire city.”
Just as Rome was not built in a day the De Nieuwe Kerk’s Forbidden Palace will not be finished until the final weeks of the exhibit but this week Leapfrog reached an important milestone in the reconstruction of the Ming Dynasty grounds. Ms Cathelijne Broers, CEO of De Nieuwe Kerk, revealed the Hall of Supreme Harmony. This palace is the largest building of The Forbidden City and a true eye catcher. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was ‘adopted’ by Bloemen Architects, who took the time to 3D model this awe-inspiring palace.
This project once again shows how advanced the Netherlands are in terms of what can be done with 3D printing.