BAM has teamed up with Universe Architecture to launch a ‘robo printer’ that can create free-form buildings in stone and concrete.
The ‘building machine’ is described as the first to link free-form print technology to automotive industry robotics. It is designed to make free-form architecture possible, as well as enable the creation of complex ornamental exteriors.
In 2013, architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture had plans for the creation of a building without beginning or end, Landscape House, using a 3D printer. The 3D Builder machine entered service yesterday and is starting with the construction of a 1:4 scale version of Landscape House at FabCity, a temporary sustainability campus in Amsterdam.
The new robot, which has an exchangeable print head, can print stone and concrete using an Italian method. In the future, it will be possible to link new print techniques for steel and insulation material, for example. Caterpillar tracks can also be placed under the robot – in collaboration with robotics partner AcoTech from Eindhoven – to enable it to travel autonomously across the building site.
Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture said: “It is fantastic that we have jointly conceived a machine that can make something new. This was much more commonplace for architects during the Renaissance.”
The method is comparable to that of an inkjet printer, but instead of putting ink on paper, a bonding liquid is dripped layer by layer on sand that then hardens in any shape as desired. The materials now being used in Amsterdam occur extensively naturally, and were used by the Chinese many centuries ago for strengthening the Great Wall of China, for example, and by the Romans.