Watch these programmes in our livestream

No upcoming programmes

toggle menu
The future of everyday living
EU2016 arts & design programme

Let’s print some concrete

BAM and Universe Architecture together with alderman Eric van de Burg have launched the 3D BUILDER, a revolutionary robo printer which can print stone and concrete.

Today, the world’s first 3D BUILDER has entered service on FabCity. This ‘building machine’ is the first of its kind where free-form print technology is linked to automotive industry robotics. This ground-breaking innovation makes free-form architecture possible, as well as the creation of complex ornamental exteriors. The new robot with an exchangeable print head can print stone and concrete using the Italian D-shape method. In the future, it will be possible to link new print techniques for steel and insulation material, for example. Caterpillar tracks can also be placed under the robot – in collaboration with robotics partner AcoTech from Lith – to enable it to travel autonomously across the building site. The 3D BUILDER is going to start with the construction of the Landscape House on a scale of 1:4 on FabCity.


Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture says:

It is fantastic that we have jointly conceived a machine that can make something new. This was much more commonplace for architects during the Renaissance.

Rutger Sypkens of BAM Bouw en Techniek adds:

As well as the form freedom, we are also very much taken by the circular process. Concrete granulate and pre-existing prints can serve as a raw material for the machine at a later stage.


3D BUILDER method

The method is comparable to that of an inkjet printer, but instead of putting ink on paper, a bonding liquid is dripped layer by layer on sand that then hardens in any shape as desired. The materials now being used in Amsterdam occur extensively naturally and were used by the Chinese many centuries ago for strengthening the Great Wall of China, for example, and by the Romans.