How 3D Printed Models Are Changing Architectural Design

POSTED BY   Sarah Etling
26th June 2017
How 3D Printed Models Are Changing Architectural Design | TDMB Tech

How 3D Printed Models Are Changing Architectural Design

by Mark Grayson

A team of cutting edge architecture firms are using 3D printed models to find exciting ways to deliver dynamic, colourful representations of their designs.

A great example of this is Friedrich Schiller University new Jena campus. Using an online portal implemented by RP Platform, Dresden-based architect Friedemann Rentsch commissioned a high-quality print of his design from 3Faktur, a leading additive manufacturing (AM) firm based in Germany and Hong Kong. His design — incorporating around 18,500m2 of space — will be turned into a full-scale construction, expected to be completed by 2019.


How 3D Printed Models Are Changing Architectural Design | TDMB Tech


Why are architects starting to embrace 3D printed models?

Firstly, 3D printing is solidifying (excuse the pun) its reputation as a tool for rapid prototyping. Early adopters quickly realised the potential of the technology for creating intricate scale models to be used in their projects. Here are some of the applications:

  • Providing an attractive 3D illustration of a concept design to potential clients
  • Testing the model within a scale representation of its intended surroundings, so designs can be considered in context
  • Creating different iterations of the design as the project evolves, with models created quickly, on an as-needed basis.

One of the major benefits of using 3D printing is to speed up the process of creating a model for clients.  A disadvantage of creating such models by hand has always been the fact that it can take several weeks for a single model to be created, thus slowing up the architectural workflow. However, a 3D printed model can be finalised and approved for construction quickly, and – crucially – demonstrate equal, if not better, build quality than those which have traditionally been constructed by hand.

Friedemann Rentsch 3D Printed Model

Despite the clear benefits of 3D printed models, architects must thoroughly evaluate their in-house expertise before deciding to purchase 3D printing technology for their office, or whether the best decision might be to rather outsource to a specialist firm. Of course, creating 3D printed models in-house is a speedy and flexible process. However, the challenge is whether an architecture firm can recreate the consistent quality and in-depth knowledge of professional additive manufacturing companies. Either way, 3D printed models of architectural plans may be a valuable tool in how architects present their ideas to clients going forward.

3D printed models of architectural plans may be a valuable tool in how architects present their ideas to clientsClick To Tweet

That being said, there are limitations to the simple 3D printed model alone. The property industry, to which architecture is – of course – inextricably linked, is becoming ever more tech savvy. Clients and investors expect to see cutting edge technology, of which 3D printing is just a part. The true key to unleashing the full potential of 3D printed models of architectural plans is to integrate the models with augmented reality technology, allowing viewers to see a true-to-life representation overlaid via a tablet or smartphone screen when viewing the 3D printed model itself.

3D printing is emerging as a technology that could have a thoroughly transformative effect on a wide range of industries. However, in order to be impressive, it must either be integrated with another, equally impressive technology or be of such high build quality that it immediately stands out. With virtual and augmented technologies fast infiltrating the PropTech scene, particularly in the architect’s office, where beautifully rendered 3D simulations are the talk of the town, 3D printed models may form just a small part of the technological revolution going on at the heart of our society.

How 3D Printed Models Are Changing Architectural Design

Sarah Etling

Sarah Elting is Head of Marketing at TDMB. Following a degree in Marketing, she headed to Italy to start up a property consultancy. On her return to colder climates, she embarked on a marketing and creative journey that over the course of 12 years evolved from launching paint collections to heading up the marketing of a successful PropTech start-up and becoming CIM qualified. Sarah now writes about all aspects of strategic marketing and technology and continues to be interested in Property.

Get in Touch With Sarah Etling

You may also like

The Navy Now Has 3D Printed Submarines
7th August 2017
3D Printing
3D Printing and Its Biological Impacts
Build a House…From Your Printer
18th May 2017
3D Printing