3D printed structure by SOM


by domain.au

Architecture firm SOM have unveiled designs for a 3D printed pod that shares power with a 3D printed vehicle.

It’s designed to be totally self-sustaining and portable so you can live off the grid anywhere.

The firm, also known as Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, have described their work as “the world’s largest 3D-printed structure”, with the pod 11.6 metres long and 3.7 metres high.

The pod can be transported and assembled anywhere. Image: SOM.

The pod’s solar panelled roof allows it to operate on clean energy day and night.

But if sunlight isn’t available, the pod and the vehicle can share energy wirelessly via a closed loop battery system.

SOM worked in conjunction with the US Department of Energy to develop the technology for the vehicle and battery.

The pod has 42 square metres of floor space. Image: SOM.

The pavilion is composed of 3D-printed polymer panels that  function as the exterior cladding and provide solid insulation, moisture protection and structural support.

By using the panels as an all-in-one component, the design team heavily reduced their usage of materials and construction waste.

“SOM and its partners optimised the structure’s form to reduce the amount of material used and to express three-dimensional printing’s ability to deploy complex, organic geometries,” said the firm.

The structure’s different segments are created separately using 3D-printing technology, and can then be assembled on-site anywhere, without the need for additional framing or supports.

The entire project is part of the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) initiative, which “focuses on new ways of thinking about electrical power”.

AMIE was created in the first year of the Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism, a five-year collaboration of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, SOM, and the University of Tennessee – See more at:

It was presented to the public for the first time at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas in late January.

The entire project is part of the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) initiative, which “focuses on new ways of thinking about electrical power”. Image: SOM

3D printing is a rapidly growing tech trend that’s hoping to revolutionise the construction industry.

Another project leading the charge is SMARTNODES, a Melbourne-based collaboration between engineering firm Arup and RMIT that 3D prints unique structural joins.

A computer calculates the pressure points of a join and then prints a custom node from steel or plastic.

A principal at Arup, Brendon Mcniven​ previously told Domain that the team plan to print large joins for structures like stadium roofs.

“I’m a very strong believer that in the future we’ll be able to do all that automatically.

“We’ve got all of the technology to do it today. It’s just actually being able to do it for the cost and efficiency,” he said.


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