Dec 14, 2016 | By Julia

The city of Alcobendas in Spain has just unveiled the first ever 3D printed pedestrian bridge made entirely of concrete. Measuring 12 metres in length and 1.75 metres in width, the landmark structure represents a milestone in civil engineering, an industry which up until now has been reluctant to use additive manufacturing. The bridge was inaugurated earlier today by Alcobendas city officials in Castilla La Mancha Park.

Made up of 8 separate pieces that fit together, the architectural design of the walkway was implemented by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and later constructed by Acciona, a Spanish civil engineering company. Acciona can now claim the renowned status of the first construction company in the world to execute a large scale civil engineering project using 3D printing.

The stunning walkway was designed through techniques of organic and biomimetic architecture, according to an official statement from the Alcobendas city council, and resembles naturally occurring forms found in the environment.

Thanks to recycling raw materials during the manufacturing process, as well as the overall sustainability of 3D printing, the bridge has incurred virtually no economic cost to the city. The municipality reports that the amount of waste, resources, and energy typically needed to realize concrete structures has been vastly reduced.

Other advantages to 3D printing concrete in large scale include the versatility and freedom of building structural elements without molds, overall flexibility and adaptability to any shape, and an incredibly sturdy architectural design capable of withstanding great resistance.  

The city of Alcobendas is keen to emphasize its commitment to innovation, as a newly established pioneer in large scale additive manufacturing for urban sites. The first civil engineering undertaking to use 3D printed concrete, the footbridge suggests we can expect similarly groundbreaking projects from the Spanish municipality in the years to come. Future developments may range from the design and manufacture of public property or “urban furniture” like benches, phone booths, and litter bins, to the preservation of historical and cultural heritage.

Once a working class region, Alcobendas has more recently become one of the more economically affluent communities of the greater metropolitan area of Madrid. With the Castilla La Mancha Park footbridge already making headlines internationally, that affluence will hopefully continue to rise.

It may be safe to assume that it is only a matter of time before the rest of Europe follows suit in aligning civil engineering with additive manufacturing techniques. Exactly what form such future innovations will take, however, remains to be seen.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Doug Lago wrote at 12/15/2016 9:14:54 PM:

Very cool.... I'm a fan

Daniel wrote at 12/15/2016 7:42:18 AM:

Congratulations Alcobendas Municipality, Acciona and IAAC!

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