The ACTLAB experimental architecture laboratory at Politecnico di Milano University is presenting a preview of its Trabeculae Pavilion at Made Expo 2017, an experimental architecture that fuses 3D Printing with biomimetic research. The innovative prototype of lightweight architecture, which demonstrates the revolutionary potential of computational design and 3D printing for constructions, will be on display at the BSmart! area, in Pavilion 10 of Fiera Milano-Rho,
The project is the synthesis of research concentrated on the use of additive manufacturing to provide novel solutions to the emergent necessity for a reduction in the exploitation of material resources.
“The last decades have witnessed an exponential growth in the demand of raw materials due to the rapid industrialization of emerging economies and the high consumption of materials. This research looks at biological models and the opportunities offered by the new additive production technologies in order to find sustainable solutions to the exploitation of materials. Our objective is to explore a new type of non-standard architecture: advanced, efficient and sustainable.” Roberto Naboni, architect and researcher at Politecnico di Milano, and Ingrid Paoletti, Associate Professor in Building Technology at Politecnico di Milano.
The pavilion is a full-scale demonstrator entirely 3D printed with a high-resistance biopolymer developed together with industrial partner Filoalfa, in order to elevate Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to construction purposes. The fabrication process of the building components is based on a printing farm of Wasp Delta printers, capable of delivering high accuracy within a continuous production process.
The use of an experimental extruder is introduced to shape stiff components within a minimized amount of time. The synergy of design, material and manufacturing technologies allowed the conceptualization of an innovative construction technique based on an additive process that builds architectural forms conceived with a load-responsive material organization.
“We looked into Nature to understand how lightweight and resistant structures work with a minimized material use. Studying the internal bone microstructure, we have created algorithms which allow us to generate three dimensional cellular structures, varying in topology and sizing, with the precision of a tenth of millimeter”
The interdisciplinary research process, which involved the fields of computational design, biomimetics, advanced manufacturing and material engineering, will be presented at Made Expo 2017. A full-scale prototype of the lightweight skin system will be exhibited accompanied by a production center with 3D printers generating the components of the Trabeculae Pavilion, which will be subsequently completed and exposed at Politecnico di Milano.
ACTLAB (Architecture, Computation and Technology) is a research unit part of the Department of Architecture, Construction Engineering and Built Environment (ABC) at Politecnico di Milano, and founded in 2014 by Ingrid Paoletti and Roberto Naboni with the objective of exploring the intersection of architecture with computational techniques, advanced manufacturing and innovative materials.