Mar.25, 2014

The eVolo Magazine 2014 Skyscraper Competition shows off a range of unique designs, including a desert tower made from sand.

Conceived by Chinese designers Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen, Sand Babel is a solar-powered 3D printed skyscraper built from desert sand. It is a group of ecological structures designed as scientific research facilities and tourist attractions for the desert.

"In my eyes, sand is a perfect building material - it has stable chemical and strong physical properties and is resistant to weathering. The sand is our thermoplastic powder and the ample sunlight of the Sahara is our inexhaustible source of energy. Sand and sunlight, these are the sources of Sand Babel." notes the team.

The structures are divided into two parts. The first part, above ground, consists of several independent structures for a desert community. The top structures are based on the natural phenomena called Tornadoes and Mushroom Rocks, which is very common in deserts. It utilizes a spiral skeleton structure, which is tall, straight and with strong tension, to meet the requirements of residential, sightseeing and scientific research facilities.

The second part is partially underground and partially above ground connecting several buildings and creating a multi-functional tube network system. The net structure is similar to tree roots to keep the structure stable. This design not only helps to keep flowing sand dunes in place but also facilitates communication among the buildings.

The dual funnel model not only improves cross-ventilation, but also generates water condensation based on temperature differences through a water-generating system located on its mushroom-shaped roof.

Markus Kayser is the inventor behind the 'Solar Sinter' 3D printer. The incredible design uses sunlight and sand as raw energy and material to produce glass objects and sculptures using a 3D printing process.

This Solar Sinter is made up of seven stations: a photovoltaic panel, the focal point which draws the sun's rays on the melting sand, a sun tracker, fresnel lens (for magnifying the rays), a battery, controlling electronics, and a small, reflective, silver tent dubbed the "office".

The device works from the same technique of sintering that is common to most 3D printer processes. By using the sun's rays instead of a laser and sand instead of resins, Kayser had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine to heat up sand and form objects like a regular 3D printer.

view of the sand being heated to melting by the focused rays of sunlight

a bowl created using 'solar sinter'

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

Maybe you also like:


Jean Cave wrote at 2/2/2016 2:27:43 AM:


Bhumee Parmar wrote at 3/27/2014 3:02:09 AM:

I'm surprised.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive