Architectural building components began with a creative assembly of mud and water; from clay building tiles to lime mortar and later to concrete products. Today in our digital world that brings architecture students to the computer screen more often than to the building site, hybrid techniques of making things are emerging as a unique way to merge the digital and the physical. 3d printing large format building components provides an opportunity for mass customization that brings together digital modelling, code writing and mud-like materials that can be extruded, including cement, clay, recycled paper, plaster and emerging materials like Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC).
This campaign is aimed at purchasing the leading edge 3D printer for this type of material for the kind of imaginative exploration that architecture students at Carleton are known for: creative design thinking, pushing the boundaries and or course, the happy accident! Supported by the CSALT lab facilities in the basement of the architecture building and the Lab Assistants employed there, this 3D printer will be used by the general student population, like our other shop facilities. It will compliment our other digital craft machines in the building and allow mud and concrete thinking a wider place in the curriculum of craft and making.
Hands on learning is critical for architects as a part of the learning trajectory. We often get in trouble for being messy in our studio environments, but we are also a leader in material thinking and making, and Carleton students are known for this unique combination of digital and physical “making”. We are firm believers that making must continue outside of the computer screen – but not at it’s demise. Hybrid making embraces digital forms of thinking and design, but pairs them with real materials. This project brings “old school mud” into contact with high-performance digital thinking including a critical reworking of code to suit the needs of the “maker” and the “mud”.
We will purchase the leading edge 3D printer for mud materials by 3D Potter currently being used for architectural scale design and production called the “3D Potter Scara v4”. We will also purchase a continuous flow high volume material pump suited for architectural materials that works in combination with the Scara called the CFP30HT pump. These two printers will compliment our clay 3D printer and home-made large format printer that we use to introduce students to cementitious materials.
By bridging the material world and the physical world through making, students are brought into contact with real-world material concerns of local sourcing, recycling of material, embodied energy and costing. In addition, the low-cost production of unique components allows students to examine how technology might contribute to issues of affordable housing by making elements in-situ. Finally, students are also engaged in thinking about historic materials (adobe, mud, lime cement) and learn to address how they might be of benefit to modern building construction and our goals of sustainability.