Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Make Yourself at Home

Today’s guest blog is from Oscar Sarlandt of Solid-Ideas

Our client needed a centerpiece for their sales office, a model that customers could see, touch, and connect with. Working from their 2D floor plans, we first digitally modeled the 3D townhouse, and then created a physical scale model that exceeded their expectations while staying within their limited budget. Potential buyers are now able to interact with the property and understand its layout.

Instead of having people who couldn't connect to a house shown as drawings and pictures, they now have buyers who can't wait to move in. In today's real estate market, you can't afford to be abstract.
Courtesy David Weekley Homes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Building Futures: Re-envisioning The Hyde at Rensselaer

Today’s guest blog is from Andrew Saunders; Saunders is a practicing architect and an assistant professor in the Rensselaer School of Architecture

 Building Futures is an exhibition at The Hyde Collection running from February 11 to April 15.  The exhibit presents architectural proposals designed by Rensselaer Architecture School faculty and students as an intellectual investigation stimulated by long-range planning activities for The Hyde Collection and its campus. 

Faculty-led teams of students generated six proposals during a four-day charrette. Charrette is a term derived from the nineteenth-century École des Beaux-Arts in Paris for an intense creative session designed to focus multiple teams on a particular problem in compressed time and space.  At the end of four days of all-day sketching, modeling and brainstorming, each team delivered a master planning strategy for expansion of The Hyde campus.

Additional proposals on exhibit are the product of a semester-long, second-year design studio.  Each student was assigned one work of art from The Hyde Collection.  The work was mined for specific active techniques or “affects” that produced sensation from relationships of geometry, composition, materiality, lighting, color, nature, and the human body.   “Affects” refers to philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s (1925-1995) concept of intensities transmitted by form that generate different affections in different persons. Once identified, the affects were transposed through a series of drawing and modeling exercises to amplify their spatial and material consequences and eventually motivate architectural strategies for The Hyde’s expansion.    

The installation is composed of 1,224 folded, developable surfaces (surfaces that can be unrolled onto a plane without distortion) digitally-generated and fabricated from sheets of translucent high-density polyethylene.  It is inspired by the affects luminosity, translucency, and weightlessness transposed from The Hyde Collection’s painting of The Annunciation by the Italian Renaissance master, Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510).   The Rensselaer fabrication challenges the Cartesian geometry and symmetry of the gallery space as it fluctuates between display and partition. It provides an affective environment that influences circulation as well as divides, unites and exhibits the Z-print models. 

3D Systems
The Rensselaer School of Architecture and The Hyde are extremely grateful for the sponsorship from 3D Systems.  Their sponsorship included Z-printing of all fourteen proposals exhibited as well as printing a scale model of the exhibition itself.  In addition to delivering museum quality models and a consistency to the exhibit, the models are a display of the school’s progressive discourse, embracing and utilizing the latest technology.

The Hyde exhibit reveals possibilities for a new museum campus and is also exposing a large community of museum patrons to what the Rensselaer School of Architecture can do with the newest technologies. People are fascinated with what has been created and how it has been accomplished. It’s just one illustration of the progressive mindset of the school, museum, faculty and students.

RPI has used 3D Systems 3D printers since 1998, and its current full-spectrum color ZPrinter operates “non-stop” during a typical semester. Its speed, quality and affordability as a major advantage for students needing to create models, especially 11th-hour end-of-semester projects. As at many campuses, RPI students in other disciplines, such as mechanical engineering and fine art, have caught wind of the ZPrinter’s capabilities and are using it in their projects.

Hyde Exhibition Credits
Exhibition Design:
Andrew Saunders
Ted Ngai
Design Team
Caressa Siu
Justin Paul Ware
Shima Miabadi

Photography / Videography:
Joey Fala
Ryan Hao
Yifeng (Jenny) Zhao

Production Team:
Bill Bergman
Guillermo Bernal
Paul Chan
Joseph Pierre Daniele
Chris Green
Will Pyatt
Tom Roland

Assembly Team:
Ben Schneiderman
Alec DuMond
Eric Chin
Yuan Feng
Andrew Van Meerbeke
Tiffany Chiang
Emily Broadbent
John Wallace

Richard Abendroth
Alexandra Henning 
Erica Barrows
Octavie Berendschot
Erin Butler
Mallory Buckner
Mike Cormier
Georgeanna Foley
Sarah Goldfarb
Cady Guyton
Jessica Lapano
Gaetano Licata
Elisabeth Sabol-Low
Chloe Mahoney
Dom Petrella
Schulyer Pratt
Katie Rauth
Christina Yee
Catherine Schoen
Roslyn Dudas
Michael Kehoe
Cat Callaghan
Tim Yiu
Jay Zhang

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

City Modelling in 3D Print

Today’s guest blog comes from George Lee of Callprint in the UK.

There exists, rumoured to be filling many storage shelves of a warehouse in Zagreb, a 3D printed model of that city. Why is the model in storage? Because it measures 29 meters by 18 meters, and is made up of 3,000 tiles covering 29 x 18km of the city. No permanent home has yet been found to house it, which is not surprising given its prodigious size.  
In the UK, Zmapping have modelled most of the city centres in the UK, and the data are used extensively under license by architects to 3D print context models in which to present their schemes. The data are constructed from Lidar scans, photogrammetry and manual modelling in CAD. Some buildings on the model have reputedly been measured to be within 15cm of the real world buildings that they represent.

Tower of London model from Zmapping data, 3D printed on ZPrinter 650, Courtesy of Buchanan Architects
In recent years there has been a proliferation of companies creating and selling city models for a variety of purposes. For many, 3D printing is an afterthought. This is perhaps partly a reflection on lack of awareness of 3D printing and also a propensity for software developers to think solely in terms of the virtual space.
This is paralleled with the lack of real interest shown in 3D printing by the major BIM software vendors. But many exciting things are happening within the virtual database linked spaces of BIM and the city modelling developers. The Zagreb model created by Geofoto is a data base containing data derived from Lidar, with some manual input, where the roofs of each building are defined. For the purposes of 3D printing, the roofs are simply extruded into the topography and a 3D printed model is generated. 

There are many clever people out there creating ever more ingenious virtual spaces. However to communicate a model of a city there is nothing that beats a physical model. 3D printing is the natural link between the computer model and the physical model.
The 1:1500 Pipers model of central London created by layering up 2mm slabs of acrylic cut on a laser cutter still draws crowds of locals and tourists alike. Imagine a model of your city 3D printed in colour on a ZPrinter 650. The benefits to the city of a physical model are manifold, for planning, education, tourism and even dare I say it for social cohesion. To stand together before your city and physically see how parts make up the whole is something that just cannot be done on a computer screen. 

London city model courtesy of Pipers – view toward the Olympic Center

For more info on the Zagreb model, please visit

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3D Color Printing Brings Math to Life

Today’s blog comes from George Hart of the Museum of Mathematics in NY.

At the Museum of Mathematics, which is opening later this year in New York City, we plan to show visitors that math is a fun, colorful, and creative subject. To that end, we are busy designing cool, hands-on exhibits, and I have used a 3D Systems hi-def color ZPrinter for making physical models of some exhibit ideas. But this blog post stems from another endeavor: Like many museums, we are raising money through a fundraiser dinner. I am very happy to have access to ZPrinter technology for making a series of festive mathematical centerpieces for this event.

3D printing allows the construction of intricate mathematical forms which could not be built by any other technology. The extra dimension of color allows for beautiful centerpieces that catch the eye and highlight mathematical features. Here are three of my favorites from this project:
This sculptural centerpiece has thirty yellow bumps, arranged like the vertices of an icosidodecahedron. But they connect to each other through meandering paths that weave through the interior. It is something of a maze to find a shortest path from one bump to another. Shades of color help highlight the overs and unders of the intricate paths.
This centerpiece is designed with floral elements connected in ways that give an organic impression without looking like any particular flower. Through twelve pentagonal openings, you can see that the interior features sixty 5-fold flower-like forms.
This design is purely geometric in character. A series of arches nest in a geometric series with smaller and smaller elements leading to the center. The geometric idea is based on five cubes, but they've undergone nonlinear transformations.

For more information and pictures of other centerpieces from this series, see my website.