SOM in the Press

Beyond the Prototype: Architects and Designers Take Additive Manufacturing to a New Level

Photo © Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Source: Architectural Record

Gutenberg’s introduction of movable type six centuries ago was a true revolution. The development forever altered the way information was received and disseminated, democratizing knowledge. Printing’s recent move beyond two dimensions could be similarly transformative. Since 3-D printers were first developed in the 1980s, the technology has made inroads into the aerospace and auto industries and medicine, and it has been embraced by DIYers and tinkerers everywhere. ...

One firm that has been investigating the potential of 3-D printing is Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). It recently completed the Additive Manufacturing and Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration project—a small building the firm designed in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, among other industry partners. The 450-square-foot carbon- fiber-reinforced ABS plastic structure, which was first exhibited on ORNL’s campus in September, has the ability to operate off the grid: its roof includes thin-film photovoltaics that work in tandem with a natural gas-fired generator housed in an accompanying 3-D-printed vehicle.

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