Chicago-based design consultant WATG’s Urban Architecture Studio won first prize in Branch Technology’s Freeform Home Design Challenge, a competition to design the world’s first free-form 3-D-printed house. The competition was announced last year, when Branch Technology itself became the first company to successfully use 3-D printing to construct building walls to scale.
Dezeen described WATG’s entry in the challenge, entitled Curve Appeal, as “a curvaceous, arching structure made up of panels that create an exterior skin and an interior core. These are combined to form the roof and large portions of the facade.” Specifically, 28 panels will be 3D-printed off-site, before being slotted together on-site to create two exterior walls, the roof and the interior core. These four main sections will then be hoisted into place and joined together.
“Curve Appeal is a very thoughtful approach to the design of our first house,” said Branch Technology founder Platt Boyd. “It responds well to the site conditions, magnifies the possibilities of cellular fabrication and pushes the envelope of what is possible, while still utilizing more economical methods for conventional building systems integration.”
Competitors in the challenge used Branch Technology’s signature Cellular Fabrication (or “C-Fab” for short) 3D printing technique, which creates freeform structures that can be perfectly combined with other construction materials. The team used C-Fab to 3-D-print its structure’s interior. Essentially, the C-Fab technique uses a customized industrial robotic arm (the Kuka KR 90), which extrudes a carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic material into complex, large-scale structures up to 8,772 cubic feet in size.
“The initial design surfaces of the house will be broken down and optimized for printing the 3D cellular matrix,” the team told Dezeen. “These portions will be aggregated together to form a singular cohesive structure.”
Branch Technology says that construction of the “Curve Appeal” house will begin in 2017.