We can learn a lot from nature. Rather than relying on someone’s creativity or a team’s problem solving, evolution has honed every part of the world around us into the perfect representation of itself. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t last.
Daniel Büning is an architect and researcher who combines emerging computational methods, with the utilisation of novel cutting edge manufacturing technology to create digitally informed architectural objects. Working in collaboration with Voxeljet and Uformia, he has been exploring innovative architectural applications for large-scale 3D printing.
The Natural Column Project
The Natural Column Project is the world’s first-ever architectural free-form column that is equipped with an internal three-dimensionally graded heterogenous microstructure – a structure that has been created through a structural simulation process. This project presents a novel digital workflow for the design, simulation and fabrication of large-scale additively manufactured architectural elements.
The iterative form-finding method of topology optimization was utilized to create the optimum load-bearing capability, while using as little material as possible. The resulting structure shares similarities with natural systems like bones or trees. Although these biological structures were well investigated by several interdisciplinary research clusters (including numerous architects and engineers in the last century) they were considered impossible to realize due to the absence of an adequate manufacturing method.
The Natural Column Project benefits directly from the advantages of additive manufacturing which allow for the materialization of unseen architectural free-form elements. In the described digital process, the informed and calibrated 3D model has a 1:1 relationship to its subsequent 3D printed counter-piece. The incorporation of a tight interdependency between form, performance and matter points to an enhanced, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly manufacturing cycle.
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