3D printed concrete columns

In collaboration with the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland, a team at ETH Zürich created nine individually designed concrete columns, each 3D printed at full height in 2.5 hours, for a project called Concrete Choreography.

The columns are designed by students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Digital Fabrication and Architecture, who explore the unique possibilities of layered extrusion printing. The aim is to demonstrate the potential of computational design and digital fabrication for future concrete construction.

The fabrication process, developed by ETH Zürich, allows the production of concrete elements without the need for any formwork. The structures are printed economically, using only concrete where necessary.

Each column is 2.7 metres (8.9 feet) tall and was fully automated 3D printed in 2.5 hours with a complex and unique geometry. The hollow structures were provided with a steel structure in the centre and filled with concrete once the printing process was finished.

The concrete columns frame the dance performances of the Origen Festival in Riom this summer, showcasing how technological advancements can bring efficient and novel expressions to concrete architecture.

Project Credits

  • Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger
  • MAS DFAB in Architecture and Digital Fabrication | ETH Zurich
  • Teaching Team Ana Anton, Patrick Bedarf, Angela Yoo (Digital Building Technologies), Timothy Wangler (Physical Chemistry of Building Materials)
  • Students Antonio Barney, Aya Shaker Ali, Chaoyu Du, Eleni Skevaki, Jonas Van den Bulcke, Keerthana Udaykumar, Nicolas Feihl, Nik Eftekhar Olivo, Noor Khader, Rahul Girish, Sofia Michopoulou, Ying-Shiuan Chen, Yoana Taseva, Yuta Akizuki, Wenqian Yang
  • Origen Foundation Giovanni Netzer, Irene Gazzillo, Guido Luzio, Flavia Kistler
  • Research Partners Prof. Robert J. Flatt, Lex Reiter, Timothy Wangler (Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, ETH Zurich)
  • Technical Support Michael Lyrenmann, Philippe Fleischmann, Andreas Reusser, Heinz Richner
  • Supported by Debrunner Acifer Bewehrungen AG, LafargeHolcim, Elotex, Imerys Aluminates
  • This research was supported by the NCCR Digital Fabrication, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (NCCR Digital Fabrication Agreement #51NF40-141853)

Photo credits: see photos