3D printing has proven te be a useful technology for architects. In China, they are building the world’s first 3D printed houses, and all over the world architectural artists are using the technique to create fine art pieces. Back in 2013, I did a piece on Contour Crafting, a Californian project aiming to create 3D printed houses in less than a day. In that article, I playfully mentioned that such a technique would be good news for the Sagrada Família team – the team working on a cathedral in Barcelona that has been worked on since 1882. Now, BBC now reports the team has already been working with 3D printing technology since 2003, and the technique is really speeding up the team’s work.
The Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s number one sightseeing location, but it has also been a pain in the ass for many generations. The building was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and a team started working on it in 1882. Gaudí himself kept on working on the architectural masterpiece until he died in 1926. Thanks to many gifts, several generations have been able to work on the cathedral, but none has succeeded to finish it yet. The cathedral is now set to be finished in 2026, one hundred years after Gaudí died. That year can be written in stone thanks to 3D printing technology.
Back in 2013, the team bought two ProJet Colour Jet Printing 3D printers. They started working with 3D modeling technology, and used the printers to visualize their models. This procedure is a lot more efficient than creating prototypes by hand. In addition, the team are now able to create prototypes that look as much as the models as possible. It takes about 12 hours to print such a prototype, so you can imagine this definitely speeds up the entire process.
Because of this procedure, there is less material waste and there are fewer errors. The biggest advantage, however, is economical. 3D printing technology lowers the costs, so the team can spend the money of donations in a more efficient way. Gaudí was known as an innovative architect when it came to productional methods. To 3DSystems, chief architect Jodi Coll said: “If Gaudí was alive today, he would have brought 3D technology to its maximum exponent, since much of his work was already conceived tri-dimensionally.”
Image credit: Keith Roper.