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3D-Printed Cabin Made from Living Tiles

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities, located in Oakland, California, and developed by 3D-printing research studio Emerging Objects, features an exterior populated with 4,500 of two tile types—3D-printed ceramic seed stitch, and planter tiles that hold succulents.

According to the architects, due to a housing emergency in the Bay Area, the Oakland City Council eased restrictions on the construction of secondary housing units, which include backyard cottages. The Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities is an exploration of what can be done about addressing housing problems on a micro scale.

Cabin of Curiosities

The exterior’s seed stitch tiles serve as a rain screen along the roof and the adjacent walls. In creating the tiles, Emerging Objects used a g-code to control each line of clay as it was printed, making each tile unique. These are also intended to be hung on a building facade or interior; the surface of each tile is emulates a knitting technique called the seed stitch.

The planter tiles, made from sustainable materials such as sawdust, chardonnay grape skins and ceramic, cover the front facade, acting as a living wall of vegetation by holding succulents.

The interior is covered with a bioplastic surface derived from corn, known as the Chroma Curl wall. Embedded with color-changing lights, the interior cladding highlights the structure while also letting light shine through the exterior, letting the building act as a beacon.

"What's exciting about this for us is that it opens the door for home owners, architects, designers, makers, tinkerers, etc. to use the relaxed codes to experiment in their own backyards, as we collectively try to address some of the housing problems at a micro scale," said studio cofounder Ronald Rael.

Rael went on to note that the studio discovered that 3D printing is scalable.

“We are confident that 3D printing can be used for buildings from small houses to skyscrapers, and look forward to testing this with larger projects in the near future."


Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Architecture; Color + Design; Design build; Residential Construction

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