robots 3D-print nine different concrete columns without any formwork

robots 3D-print nine different concrete columns without any formwork

a 3D printing process developed at ETH zurich has been used to produce nine individually designed concrete columns. the fabrication process — demonstrated in the video above — allows the production of concrete elements without the need for any formwork. in addition, one-of-a-kind designs with complex geometries can be fabricated in a fully automated manner. hollow concrete structures are printed in a way where the material can be strategically used only where needed, allowing a more sustainable approach to concrete architecture.

image courtesy of benjamin hofer, digital building technologies



in collaboration with the origen festival in riom, switzerland, the installation ‘concrete choreography’ consists of nine 2.7-meter-tall columns (8.9 ft). each column is concrete 3D printed at full height in 2.5 hours with the process developed at ETH zurich, with the support of NCCR DFAB. students of the master of advanced studies in digital fabrication and architecture explored the unique possibilities of layered extrusion printing, demonstrating the potential of computational design and digital fabrication for future concrete construction.

image courtesy of benjamin hofer, digital building technologies



computationally designed material ornament and surface texture exemplify the versatility and significant aesthetic potential 3D concrete printing holds when used in large-scale structures. framing and informing the dance performances of the 2019 summer season in riom, the project showcases how technological advancements can bring efficient and novel expressions to concrete architecture.

image courtesy of benjamin hofer, digital building technologies

image courtesy of benjamin hofer, digital building technologies

image courtesy of benjamin hofer, digital building technologies

image courtesy of patrick bedarf, digital building technologies

image courtesy of keerthana udaykumar, digital building technologies

image courtesy of axel crettenand, digital building technologies

image courtesy of sofia michopoulou, digital building technologies

image courtesy of angela yoo, digital building technologies



project info:


credits: MAS DFAB in architecture and digital fabrication | ETH zurich
teaching team: ana anton, patrick bedarf, angela yoo (digital building technologies), timothy wangler (physical chemistry of building materials)
students: antonio barney, aya shaker ali, chaoyu du, eleni skevaki, jonas van den bulcke, keerthana udaykumar, nicolas feihl, nik eftekhar olivo, noor khader, rahul girish, sofia michopoulou, ying-shiuan chen, yoana taseva, yuta akizuki, wenqian yang
origen foundation: giovanni netzer, irene gazzillo, guido luzio, flavia kistler
research partners: prof. robert j. flatt, lex reiter, timothy wangler (physical chemistry of building materials, ETH zurich)
technical support: michael lyrenmann, philippe fleischmann, andreas reusser, heinz richner
supported by: debrunner acifer bewehrungen AG, lafargeholcim, elotex, imerys aluminates
research supported by: the NCCR digital fabrication, funded by the swiss national science foundation (NCCR digital fabrication agreement #51NF40-141853)
one column in numbers: column height: 2.70 m; print-path length: 1600 m; print-time: 2.5 h; print-speed: 180 mm/sec; layer width: 25 mm; layer height: 5 mm

  • imagine if they used white cement and dried colors, would be amazing, another step beyond these wonderful columns… another day…….

    cisco says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,583 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample