Jan 13, 2015 | By Simon

As more architects look into ways of using additive manufacturing as a way of constructing their buildings, we’ve been seeing new ways of creating modular structures to even large-scale 3D printers that are capable of printing an entire house (or multiples) within a day.

Historically, architects have been using 3D printers for years to create small-scale mockups of concepts to present to clients or colleagues, so the technology isn’t necessarily new; the scale of it is.  

Among those who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with 3D printing and architecture are Design Lab Workshop’s Brian Peters and Daphne Firos.  The design duo, who both share a background in architecture, have been busy creating various ways of integrating additive manufacturing into the build process for a variety of structures.  

Among other work in their portfolio the architects have done everything from creating 3D printed ceramic bricks that use a variety of different infills for various structural and aesthetic qualities to 3D printed vertices that connect multiple wooden rods into a seamless structural design.

More recently however, the design team has been focusing on an experimental structure that highlights the potential of architecture including new fabrication techniques (3D printing), new smart technologies (light sensors and photovoltaics) and are powered by renewable energy sources (solar energy).  

Constructed out of 94 digitally designed and fabricated modular 3D printed modules (AKA “Bytes”), the Solar Bytes Pavillion is the result of their experiment and through its use of embedded technologies becomes a glowing structure at night while also providing protection from the sun during the course of the day.   

Each of the 94 modules were 3D printed using a 6-axis robot arm in the Robotic Fabrication Lab at the nearby College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University in Ohio, USA.  Using a DOHLE hand welding extruder, the Mini CS was attached to the 6-axis robotic arm and used as a 3D print head to create a makeshift Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer for the project.

Each module was 3D printed with translucent plastic to allow the structure to filter sunlight during the day while also allowing the light to penetrate to be able to reach the sensors that would in turn, power the glow of the structure by night.  To enhance the light effect of the night structure, the architects made use of interlocking, snap-fit joints that reduce the spacing between each module while also allowing the arch of the structure to be better supported.    

Additionally, the arch of the structure follows the path of the sun spanning from East to West for the most amount of solar exposure each day.  The included solar cells all act independently to capture and store energy for each individual LED.  If a portion of the day provides less solar power due to cloud cover, the result would be reflected in the glow duration later that night.  

The pavilion served as a shading device during the day and a beacon at night along the lakefront during Ingenuity Fest in Cleveland, Ohio in September of 2014.

To see what other projects the talented Peters and Firos have been up to in the architecture and 3D printing space, be sure to check out the rest of their portfolio over at Design Lab Workspace.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


AYUSH MALIK wrote at 12/10/2018 11:20:32 AM:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org 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