The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are well underway, and while we’ve all been cheering on our country’s top gymnasts, swimmers, runners, and other world-class athletes, 3D printing technology has revealed itself useful in a number of ways. In fact, before the Olympics even started, we learned that 3D printing technology would play a major role in the event’s apparel, from high-tech skinsuits to new-age shoes. The sportswear company adidias also revealed that select medal-winning athletes sponsored by them would receive tailor-made 3D printed shoes, the first-ever made by adidas.
Although the Olympic Games have been the talk of the town (that town being Rio de Janeiro), the attention brought to the host city has sparked conversation on critical social issues that are not discussed often enough. For instance, last year, a Dutch artist named Peter Smith launched a campaign to collect over 100,000 PET bottles and use them to 3D print a sculpture of Michelangelo’s depiction of Madonna. Now, Adrian Yiu, a graduate student from the Bartlett School of Architecture, is utilizing 3D printing technology to help reimagine Brazil’s favelas, which are the impoverished shanty towns scattered around the city.
Yiu has created a conceptual project that aims to revitalize an abandoned quarry in Rio’s oldest favela into an enterprise zone for the local community. The project aims to alleviate the social oppression taking place in the Morro da Providência favela, as Yiu hopes to offer residents an economically-driven zone that will provide the community with social opportunities and independence from state control. The graduate student hinted that the quarry should be run as a community-based initiative, and that all profits could be used to continue excavating and reconstructing the quarry.
“The scheme aims to create an economically independent zone to provide social opportunities for the community by re-establishing the community’s quarry,” said Yiu. “It intends to provide an alternative way of appropriating the current issues of commercialization and tyranny. More importantly it is to give visibility to previously unrecognized social subjectivities.”
The project would help residents of the Morro da Providência favela to gain better access to the more prosperous areas of the city. Yiu’s initial design includes social spaces, offices for the quarry’s managers, workshops for processing stone, and even an open-air museum. Perhaps most interesting is the way that 3D printing technology will play a role in this conceptual project. While excavations of large stone blocks can be sold or reused for the construction, the project aims to process the dust produced while quarrying into a 3D printing material. This would allow stone drainage elements to be 3D printed from the very material found in the quarry, and would help redirect rainwater.
Currently finishing up his masters program, Yiu started this project as part of the London-based school’s Unit 18 program, which is taught by Ricardo de Ostos, Isaie Bloch and Nannette Jackowski. The project is meant to examine the political and environmental strife affecting Rio, which Yiu realized during a visit there was not getting the attention needed to help alleviate these issues. In a struggling city receiving most of their current attention for playing host to the Olympics, it’s refreshing to see an innovative student focus instead on the underserved communities through the city of Rio de Janeiro.
“The project seeks to re-invoke the spirit of the people with their environment through spatial and sensational experiences,” Yiu explained. “Spaces are designed to evoke emotional expressions. The functionality of the spaces are set out and then adapted by the users allowing for contingency.”
Discuss further in the 3D Printed Quarry forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: Dezeen]
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