Apr 30, 2018 | By David

An architecture firm has used 3D printing to create an impressive pavilion structure, recently installed in a rural Chinese village. Built from 3D printed plastic blocks, the pavilion is part of the newly-built LEI House, which was developed for a local businesswoman who wanted a new property to add to her established bed-and-breakfast brand. AZL Architects’ design for the LEI House was intended to combine the old and the new, using the 3D printed plastic pavilion as a counterpoint to the robust stone-clad main building.

The new house is located in the village of Shanyinwu in Tonglu County, Hangzhou. This village’s recent re-development is typical of many rural Chinese communities, where many houses have been modernized or rebuilt in the past decade. However, this process usually goes ahead with very little consultation from architects, and many of the traditional charms of the buildings and their community can be lost during renovation.

Nanjing-based architecture studio AZL Architects set out to create a new building that would modernize the village without sacrificing the rural aesthetic, according to the requests of the bed-and-breakfast owner who commissioned it. She wanted to promote the idea of sustainable rural development, working with the natural environment and culture instead of against it. Her intent was to live in the house as well as offering it as accommodation to travellers, and she asked for it to be built using local methods and materials so that it would fit with the vernacular of the village as well as possible.

The LEI House has a three-storey main building, which is entirely clad in scraps of slate from a nearby stone-processing factory.

The stone was laid using a traditional technique, around the building’s structural outer walls which were largely made from hollow concrete blocks. This was done in an effort to combine low-cost contemporary materials with older artisanal methods, keeping the balance between old and new.

The inner space of the main building has an open layout and is compact in a similar way to many older rural houses. The entire LEI House overlooks a valley and reservoir, with a hillside rising behind it. The main square three-storey building aligns well with its neighbouring houses.

The 3D printed pavilion was installed as a demonstration of the most contemporary construction developments, but the structure was designed in order to closely mimic traditional masonry work.

It was put together with 400 3D printed blocks, made from a translucent plastic material. They were produced in one month by three separate suppliers in Beijing and Nanjing, and two inexperienced local villagers were then able to assemble the pavilion from these blocks in just three days.

This was intended to show how modern manufacturing methods could be used to compensate for a lack of skilled labor in rural communities.

The finished pavilion has a light and clear aesthetic which contrasts well with the the heavy, dense stone of the main building. The 3D printing process enabled varying levels of translucency to be achieved in the blocks, which gives the pavilion a particularly striking and mysterious aesthetic when it is illuminated from within.

More architectural projects will hopefully draw on the example of the LEI House as a way to integrate construction and 3D printing technology in a creative and sustainable way.

(source: et59)



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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