Shape Design of 3D-Concrete-Printed Masonry Structures

Bhooshan S.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000614010

The research aims to contribute to the ‘digitalisation’ of concrete – digital design of 3D concrete-printed (3DCP) structures and robotic manufacture of the concrete parts – and thus pave the way for its sustainable use. The motivation to achieve such a Sustainable Digital Concrete (SDC) stems from three insights:

• The importance of a common language of geometry to empower a collaborative approach between Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) to fully realise the promise of3DCP - the time and resource efficient, aesthetically appealing realisation of high-performance shapes and structures.

•The relevance of historic, unreinforced masonry design methods and their contemporary computational extensions to interactive shape design, and design-to-manufacturing tools for 3DCP that in turn, support the mainstream adoption of the advances in 3DCP. There is a current lack of such tools, despite the rapid evolution of hardware and material technologies of 3DCP.

• The effectiveness of unreinforced masonry design and construction with 3DCP ‘stone’ to achieve circular construction goals to reduce, reuse and recycle material, and repair of structures.

Specifically, the research investigates an Interactive Design Environment (IDE) and the underlying Computational Framework (CF) to adapt equilibrium modelling techniques from rigid-block masonry to aid the interactive shape and print-path design for unreinforced, 3DCP masonry structures. It focuses on enabling the synthesis of geometries that are structurally and materially feasible vis-a-vis 3DCP. The masonry analogy is also extended to a second scale of the concrete printed in layers, by utilising the masonry design techniques of stereotomy – a practice aligning material layout with expected compressive force flows.

These insights, and observations about the necessity of design exploration of novel technologies such as 3DCP, yields the principal contributions of the research: A computational framework that allows for geometric reasoning about shape, exploration of associated design space, and proof-of-concept physical realisation s including a full-scale, 16m-span 3DCP masonry footbridge, which demonstrates the concepts and technologies described in this dissertation.


    author      = "Bhooshan, S.",
    title       = "Shape Design of 3D-Concrete-Printed Masonry Structures",
    institution = "ETH Zurich",
    year        = "2023",
    address     = "",
    month       = "",
    doi         = "https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000614010",
    note        = "",

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