From ancient civilisations to the present day, columns have served as elements of architecture particularly tied to the harmony, balance and proportion of architectural orders – so much so that they have come to be recognised as works of art in their own right.
What could the contemporary design of a new column order enabled by emerging digital technologies be like?
In collaboration with the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland the installation Concrete Choreography consists of nine, individually designed, 2.7m tall columns. Each column is concrete 3D printed at full height in 2.5 hours with the process developed at ETH Zurich, with the support of NCCR DFAB.
Students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Digital Fabrication and Architecture explore the unique possibilities of layered extrusion printing, demonstrating the potential of computational design and digital fabrication for future concrete construction.
This novel fabrication process allows the production of concrete elements without the need for any formwork. In addition, one-of-a-kind designs with complex geometries can be fabricated in a fully automated manner. Hollow concrete structures are printed in a way where the material can be strategically used only where needed, allowing a more sustainable approach to concrete architecture.
Computationally designed material ornament and surface texture exemplify the versatility and significant aesthetic potential 3D concrete printing holds when used in large-scale structures.
Framing and informing the dance performances of the 2019 summer season in Riom, the project showcases how technological advancements can bring efficient and novel expressions to concrete architecture.