Making Multimodal Facade using Digital Metal Casting

With our winning concept of generative differential growth, we developed two automatic generative systems that cast moulds and developed custom design machines that generated an algorithmic ornamental structure. By integrating 3D printing sand moulds and metal casting, we made the production of customized and complex structural metal parts possible and affordable.

Computational Design
Deep Facade (made of 26 articulated panels), a six-metre-high aluminium structure with ribbons of metal looped in an organic fashion that recalls the folds of the brain's cerebral cortex, is the first metal facade cast in a 3D-printed mould. The use of 3D printing in this way is significant as it provides a quicker, more cost-effective way to manufacture complex forms for custom architecture. With our approach using a 3D-printed mould, we make it possible and affordable again to fabricate bespoke structural metal parts with the unseen richness of detail and geometric complexity.

3D Printing and Metal Casting
This approach can unlock an entirely new vocabulary of shapes for metal structures in architecture, previously unavailable with traditional mould-making systems. The process works well in conjunction with the computational design method known as topology optimisation, where strong, stable structures are realised with the minimum amount of material.

Structurally optimized allow designers to create lightweight geometry, but the parts optimised with this technique are often difficult to manufacture through traditional methods. Our proposed fabrication approach does not encounter the same limits as traditional manufacturing methods and can go further with shape optimisation thanks to the ability of 3D printing to print complex moulds that could be used to fabricate more efficient structures. In this synergy, we benefit from the geometric freedom offered by 3D printing and the structural stability of cast metal.

Project Credit: Digital Building Technologies. This project was developed during three months called Digital Metal in ETH Zürich.
Collaborators: Mania Aghaei Meibodi (project director), Marirena Kladeftira, Thodoris Kyttas, Dr. Mario Rinke.        
Team Members: Sahar Barzani, Fernando Cena, Georgia Chousou, Alexander Enz, Moon Young Jeong, Frank Lin, Matteo Lomaglio, Ioanna Mitroupolou, Haruna Okawa, Rafael Pastrana, Francisco Regalado, Jetana Ruangjun, Jun Su, Nizar Taha, Yao Wang, ZongRu WU, Angela Yoo.
Sponsors and Industry Partners: Christenguss AG, Aluminium-Verband.
Photo Credit:
Jetana Ruangjun.
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