Mar 13, 2018 | By Benedict

Bay Area 3D printing startup Emerging Objects has created a 3D printed “Cabin of Curiosities,” a proof of concept for demonstrating the architectural possibilities of additive manufacturing. The 3D printed cabin demonstrates how technology can be used to solve 21st-century housing issues.

It might look more ornate than practical, but the spectacular Cabin of Curiosities—a partially 3D printed shack that incorporates printed ceramics and live plants—is actually a demonstration of how additive manufacturing can solve today’s housing problems.

Created by Bay Area additive manufacturing startup Emerging Objects, the Cabin shows how upcycling and 3D printed cladding can be used to make unusual dwellings.

The project’s Bay Area location is no coincidence. A housing emergency in the area has seen many locals desperate to find a roof over their head, and has even prompted Oakland City Council to reduce the restrictions on secondary housing units or so-called “backyard cottages.”

But rather than see these changes as cause for alarm, Emerging Objects saw an opportunity: to show how 3D printing can provide the answers to these housing problems.

These relaxed rules in Oakland mean homeowners are now able to transform traditionally non-residential buildings like sheds and garages into habitable places. Obviously, there is a worry that this rule change could see people being exploited, charged unfair sums of money to live in…well…sheds, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

The Cabin of Curiosities, which is made from more than 4,500 3D printed ceramic tiles, shows how varied materials like grape skins, salt, cement, and sawdust can all be used to erect livable structures.

Two types of 3D printed tile are used on the Cabin: “planter” tiles containing living plants that adorn the gable ends of the structure, and shingled “seed stitch” tiles for the sides and roof. Interestingly, these seed stitch tiles are 3D printed at very high speeds for deliberate anomalies and an uneven, handmade-looking aesthetic.

(Images: Emerging Objects)

The interior of the Cabin looks totally at odds with its organic exterior. It includes further 3D printed items: furniture, pottery, and trinkets, while LED lights illuminate the Cabin through translucent 3D printed bioplastic cladding.

These LED lights can be programmed to produce a calming dusky glow at night.

One of the Cabin of Curiosity’s designers, Emerging Objects co-founder and UC Berkeley professor Ronald Rael, noted how the 3D printed cabin is unlike many other 3D printed dwellings: “These are not just investigations into testing materials for longevity or for structure, but also a study of aesthetics. We see the future as being elegant, optimistic, and beautiful.”

Rael founded Emerging Objects alongside Virginia San Fratello, a professor at San Jose State University.

Back in 2016, we wrote about how Emerging Objects was 3D printing objects made from recycled car tires.

(Images: Matthew Millman)



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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