In the rapidly evolving world of construction 3D printing, California based Emerging Objects stands out both as a pioneer and as the only company that approached 3D printing from a modular, “3D printed bricks and tiles” point of view. Its latest 3D Printed Cabin of Curiosities sums up much of the company’s research so far.
Continuing in its exploration, the duo formed by Berkely professors and architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello – one of our Most Influential Women in 3D printing – just presented the project. Architects Newspaper describes it as a “proof of concept” investigation into the architectural possibilities of upcycling and custom 3-D-printed claddings as a response to 21st-century housing needs.
The Cabin of Curiosities is exemplary of Emerging Objects’ work, which dives deep into the material science of additive manufacturing while often utilizing open-source tools and standard off-the-shelf printers.
The one-room gabled structure brings together a collection of 3D printed tile and cladding products, from interior translucent glowing wall assemblies to exterior rain screens composed of integrated planters and textural “shingles” 3D printed in clay.
In fact, over 4,500 3D printed ceramic tiles clad the exterior of the building. The firm is committed to focusing on upcycling agricultural and industrial waste products. Salt, cement, paper and sawdust, among others, have been integrated into Emerging Objects’ products to create variety among the tiles.
The project integrates two types of tiles on the exterior: a “planter” tile on the gable ends, and a shingled “seed stitch” tile wrapping the side walls and roof. The planter tiles offer 3D printed ceramic shapes that include pockets for vegetation to grow. The seed stitch tiles, borrowing from knitting terminology, are produced through a deliberately rapid printing process that utilizes G-code processing to control each line of clay for a more “handmade” aesthetic. No two tiles are the same, offering unique shadow lines across the facade.