3D printing a city of ideas

Writing for the official MakerBot blog, Blake Eskin notes that buildings designed today may not open for well over a decade. As such, architects often create models to help people understand what the future structures will actually look like on the ground.

However, before presenting their ideas to clients, governments and communities, architects need to envision the final design themselves with sketches, computer renderings, animations and physical models.

“The earlier you can look at a physical object, the sooner you can understand a building and also make better design decisions,” said W. Scott Allen, an associate architect and designer for Perkins+Will, a global architecture firm that has 7 MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers in its offices.

Indeed, Allen recently set up more than 40 6-inch towers on an office conference room table to reimagine the space around the Bernardine Monastery in Lviv, Ukraine.

“You might have an entire set of models that are exceptionally functional and some that are wildly impractical but just look really awesome,” explained Allen, who made the models on a MakerBot Replicator 2.

“Rapid prototyping profoundly changes our own creative process. Making all of these on the MakerBot frees us up to test more ideas for clients and come at a nicer solution in the same timeframe. You can almost print at the same speed that you can draw.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical sphere, architectural arena and science lab. To be sure, the meteoric rise of 3D printing has paved the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. As such, the lucrative 3D printing industry remains on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016.

2 thoughts on “3D printing a city of ideas

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