UC Berkeley Teams up with 3D Systems

Architecture faculty and students print cement structure.

3D Systems has unveiled “Bloom,” a 3D-printed structure designed by UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Architecture Ronald Rael and his graduate student team. Measuring roughly 12 x 12 x 9 feet, the architectural work is the largest 3D-printed polymer structure to date, according to 3D Systems.

“Bloom” is a freestanding room built from 840 blocks, printed on 11 of 3D Systems’ ProJet x60 printers using a cement polymer developed by Rael, then assembled by hand. Each block allows varying amounts of light to pass through the wall, which interacts with the structure’s floral patterns.

“While there are a handful of people currently experimenting with printing 3D architecture, only a few are looking at 3D printing with cement-based materials, and all are extruding wet cement through a nozzle to produce rough panels,” says Rael. “We are mixing polymers with cement and fibers to produce strong, lightweight, high-resolution parts. This project is the genesis of a realistic, marketable process with the potential to transform the way we think about building a structure.”

“Bloom” was unveiled at the fifth annual Berkeley Circus, and will later tour at various locations around the world. More information can be found here.

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