SOM in the Press

How to Print a Building

Photo © Oak Ridge National Laboratory

​Source: Chicago magazine

In 2014, at the International Technology and Manufacturing Show in Chicago, a car was printed on the showroom floor. A massive 7'x13'x3' 3D printer—a collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Local Motors, and Cincinnati Inc.—laid out a line of carbon fiber-infused plastic for 40 hours, building the body layer by layer.

That same year, Phillip Enquist, a partner in urban design and planning at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, found himself at the University of Tennessee as part of a collaboration with ORNL. (The city of Oak Ridge was itselfdesigned by SOM in 1942 as part of the Manhattan Project.) Oak Ridge had BAAM, the Big Area Additive Machine that had built the car (by 2015 it would build Bertha, a larger machine that could print 100 pounds an hour). Now it had an architect and designer on hand. So how do you top 3D-printing a car?

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