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3D Printing Sustainable Architecture

The majority of the contemporary building materials used have high levels of embodied energy. The use of natural materials and construction waste could reduce the embodied energy of buildings. However, concerns such as structural integrity, workability, and construction precision affects the integration of these materials into contemporary architecture. Technological developments in computational design and additive manufacturing presents an alternative perspective to designing and materials used to make architectural elements.

This study investigates readily available, renewable materials such as earth and other materials to evaluate their performance. The environmental impacts and structural appropriateness of these materials are assessed by making 3D-printed prototypes. These prototypes are created by extruding an earth-based mixture via a gantry system, which layers the material to form. Prototypes are tested for structural properties through compressive strength testing and weather-ability through accelerated erosion testing. Life-cycle assessments and testing are done to gauge the prototype's material properties and environmental impacts.

The main aim of this study is to demonstrate the use of natural materials for 3D printing environmentally appropriate architectural structures. This research serves to establish a basis for future studies and exploration into alternative approaches for creating environmentally conscious architecture. This will be achieved by establishing the procedural framework for future TUT Architecture and Industrial Design students to further investigate 3D printing with sustainable materials.

Further information on Investigating procedures for 3D printing environmentally conscious architectural prototypes can be found in the attached downloads.


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