World’s first 3D printed bridge made from micro-reinforced concrete

3D printing has been extensively used in different disciplines, but it has focused especially on the small scale. The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) is trying to bring this manufacturing technique to the architectural scale. They designed and made the first 3D printed pedestrian bridge in the world, which was inaugurated last December in the urban park of Castilla-La Mancha in Alcobendas, Madrid. 

The bridge has a total length of 12 meters and a width of 1.75 meters. It was printed with micro-reinforced concrete.

With the design of the bridge printed in 3D, the Institute for IAAC remains committed to innovation and becomes a global pioneer in the use of large-scale 3D printing. The 3D printed footbridge of Alcobendas represents a milestone for the construction sector at international level, since, to date, this technology has not been applied in the field of civil engineering.

The 3D printed bridge, which reflects the complexities of nature’s forms, was developed through parametric design, which optimises the distribution of materials and minimises the amount of waste by recycling the raw material during manufacturing. The computational design also maximises the structural performance, being able to dispose the material only where it is needed, with total freedom of forms, maintaining the porosity thanks to the application of generative algorithms and challenging the traditional techniques of construction.

In addition, the design of the 3D printed bridge responds to the challenges posed by the legislation, being implemented in a public space. Anyone can cross the bridge, which was installed in Alcobendas as an urban infrastructure integrated in the park.

The executive project was developed by a multidisciplinary team of architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers and representatives of the municipal administration.