developed by NOWlab innovation department at bigrep, the world’s first ‘smart concrete wall’ combines digital design with digital fabrication to reinstate materiality in architectural design thinking. the project involves the production of large-scale 3D-printed formwork, enabling an adaptive surface through embedded capacitive sensors in the concrete structure. according to the design team, 3D printing enables the return of techniques in concrete casting that have vanished from current building sites — techniques that once belonged to skilled craftsman.


the ‘smart concrete wall’ involves the production of large-scale 3D-printed formwork

 

 

using a bigrep ONE 3D printer at immensa labs in dubai, NOWlab has developed the ‘sensorial adaptive concrete screen’ using 3D printed formwork. the use of parametric design tools in combination with large-scale 3D printing enables a hybrid concrete wall that gradually merges from a closed to open condition. NOWlab believes that 3D printing can help architects reassert themselves as the master builders of the 21st century, enabling them to have direct control of the development of their designs.


the sensorial aspect is activated by a hands touch on the outer surface of the concrete wall

 

 

the wall’s sensorial aspect is activated by a hand’s touch on its outer surface. this triggers an embedded sensor that was made possible through the combination of different 3D printed elements within the structure. according to NOWlab, this functionalization of a concrete surface is a first of its kind — opening the possibility now for any imaginable concrete surface to become a switch. hexagonal light fixtures fill the adaptive hexagonal grid, the form of which was derived from ancient arabic tiling logics. watch the video at the top of this page to learn more, and more work by NOWlab on designboom here.


a combination of units could result in wall dividers, façades, or interior screens


detail view of the 3D printed formwork elements that where used to cast the wall


inside view of the formwork showing the void that defined the concrete structure


3D printed light fixtures fill the adaptive hexagonal grid and are controlled by a capacitive sensor


the adaptive hexagonal grid was derived from ancient arabic tiling logics

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: philip stevens | designboom

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