Despite recent developments in digital fabrication technologies, physical architectural forms are not keeping up with the limitless design freedom possible in digital environments. But 3D printing is here to help us bridge this gap. And to maximize the potential impact of this technology, we are using 3D printing to work with the most used material in the world today, concrete. Concrete is celebrated by engineers and architects alike for its excellent structural capabilities and for its ability to be cast into any conceivable shape. This property allows us to develop automated fabrication methods for highly complex, bespoke load-bearing concrete components based on 3D printed formwork systems. Thanks to 3D printing, we can build our next projects using structural prefabricated concrete components which are highly optimized, with accurate features in the range of a tenth of a millimetre. Furthermore, 3D printing allows us to precisely position complex reinforcement, to integrate additional functionality, provisions for building services and a smart assembly logic. With 3D printing, we now have access to a previously unavailable design vocabulary for concrete structures, with diverse topological features, such as inner voids, undercuts, micro-surface structures, porosity gradients, branching or tubular networks. Andrei Jipa, researcher at ETH Zurich, will give his insight on the potential impact of this unprecedented design freedom for concrete construction.
Andrei Jipa is a Doctoral student at the Chair of Digital Building Technologies of ETH Zurich. He studied architecture at the Ion Mincu University in Bucharest, Romania, at the University of Sheffield, England, as well as at the University of Westminster in London, England. After his diploma, he founded jamD, a digital fabrication and parametric design studio based in London. In addition, Andrei Jipa taught computational design to master students as a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster. His current research focuses on 3D sand-print composites for the construction of full scale functional building components.