3D Concrete Printing

The challenge

A building interior featuring concrete curves

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.”
M C Escher (1898-1972)

Many modern buildings make stunning use of line and form, defying convention and – it sometimes seems – gravity.

The skylines of 21st century cities are no longer dominated by rectilinear buildings, but curve and swoop to seemingly impossible heights.

The growing popularity of Structural Expressionism adds another complication as structural and functional features take centre stage in growing numbers of prestige buildings.

These architectural trends place huge demands on materials and pose a range challenges for construction specialists.

Some dramatic building designs may never progress beyond the imagination – their complexity extending beyond current construction practices and realistic budgets.

For the past decade, researchers in our School of Civil and Building Engineering have been developing 3D concrete printing technology for the construction and architectural engineering industry which could transform the manufacture of building components for the built environment and achieve the seemingly impossible.