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spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo

3dpod: the first earthquake-proof 3D-printed building in Japan

 

Obayashi design group constructs ‘3dpod’, the first earthquake-proof, certified building in Japan to be 3D printed. Fabricated with a special printing mortar acting as a formwork, the frame sets up high-strength concrete mixed with steel fibers, not requiring the use of conventional reinforcing bars. All structural elements above ground are generated with 3D-printing technology, including the walkable-roof slab and stairs, while insulation and full MEP equipment are integrated into ad-hoc wall cavities.

 

The demonstration facility, open to the public, is built to evaluate the durability, structural, and environmental performance of 3d-printing, and to foster further its technological development. With architectural 3D printing being particularly challenging in earthquake-prone Japan, and, due to building regulation restrictions, the technique has so far been employed only in civil engineering and non-habitable, small structures. The project aims for a contemporary design that meets the strict local requirements without relying on conventional reinforcement.

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
3dpod is framed by the surrounding cherry blossoms | all images by Satoshi Shigeta unless stated otherwise

 

 

pod-like structure reveals the aesthetic potential of 3D printing

 

The team at Obayashi applies a special mortar to print 3dpod that acts both as an internal and external finishing surface as well as the framework for the load-bearing structure, made of a high-strength concrete reinforced with steel fibers, called ‘SLIM-Crete®’. This construction method does not require the placement of reinforcing bars or steel frames, not to limit the aesthetic potential of 3D printing. The pod-like shape is derived by maximizing the ratio between interior space and wall-surface area, achieving the largest internal volume with the least amount of material, given the technical printing constraints and the limitations of the site. The walls are multi-layered, combining load-bearing structure and cavities for insulating material, equipment routing, and a system for radiant heating and cooling, to afford the level of habitability of a conventional building.

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
3dpod stands adjacent to the Obayashi Technology Research Institute’s forest

 

 

cutting-edge digital fabrication retains a haptic appeal

 

The slab design features strengthening ribs following principal stress lines, a means of material economy achieving aesthetic and spatial qualities at the same time. This outcome would have been unfeasible using conventional construction methods. To fabricate 3dpod, a robotic printer is installed on-site, printing the mortar formwork directly onto the foundations. The roof-slab formwork is instead printed as a precast element at a nearby facility, then placed on top of the walls and capped with SLIM-Crete®, creating a shell structure. Thereafter, the 3D printer is placed on the roof slab to finish off the parapet of the walkable deck, demonstrating the technical feasibility of a multi-storied printed building.

 

The project which is the result of cutting-edge digital fabrication, manages to retain a certain warmth and haptic appeal. The unique texture emerging from on-site construction methods, reminiscent of hand-crafted work allows for an appealing roughness and primitive aura. Architectural 3D printing can reduce labor demand on the construction site, shorten construction time through automation, and save on CO2 emissions, thanks to reduced transportation of building materials. Obayashi’s design team advances the development of 3D printing in the AEC industry, targeting the chronic shortage of skilled workers and construction issues in remote areas, all the while promoting the diversification of building materials, and aiming for a localized construction process. 

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
the interplay of light and shadow reveals the sculptural qualities of 3dpod

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
on-site printed brackets support the precast, 3D-printed stair treads

3d-printed-3dpod-tokyo-designboom-1800-2

a 3D-printed slab creates a walkable roof demonstrating the feasibility of a multi-story 3D-printed building

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
precast, 3D-printed slab-formwork pieces ready to be put in place

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
principal stress line analysis generates the dynamic design of the strengthening ribs of the ceiling

3d-printed-3dpod-tokyo-designboom-1800-3

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
the appealing roughness of the walls’ texture grants the building a primitive aura

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
fresh air is circulated through the 3D-printed air vents above, while return air enters from the slits under the bench

spiral staircase wraps around the sculptural 3D-printed body of 3dpod in tokyo
despite the use of cutting-edge technology, 3dpod has a haptic quality reminiscent of hand-crafted work

3d-printed-3dpod-tokyo-designboom-1800-1
 
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the robotic arm prints multilayered walls, integrated steps, and a V-shaped roof on-site | image provided by Obayashi
the robotic arm prints multilayered walls, integrated steps, and a V-shaped roof on-site | image provided by Obayashi
SLIM-Crete is poured into the printed formwork using a robotic arm | image provided by Obayashi
SLIM-Crete is poured into the printed formwork using a robotic arm | image provided by Obayashi

project info:

 

name: 3dpod
designer: Obayashi

location: Tokyo, Japan

photography: Satoshi Shigeta

 

 

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: christina vergopoulou | designboom

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