Thallus: Zaha Hadid Architects Explores Robotic Assisted and Computational Design to 3D Print Experimental Structure for Milan Design Week

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We’ve been wowed by the beautiful and structural design work of London-based Zaha Hadid Architects before. The Head of Computation and Design at Zaha Hadid Architects had his work displayed in the Stratasys booth at Adobe MAX 2015, and a year ago, Stratasys showcased the parametrically designed, 3D printed chair prototype that Hadid and her design partner created, using Stratasys multi-material, multi-color printers, a year before the architectural and revolutionary visionary sadly passed away. The architecture and design firm recently created a beautiful, experimental structure, using 3D printing technology, for Milan Design Week, which began Tuesday and will end this Sunday, April 9th.

3D printing has definitely been on display at Milan Design Week in the past, such as last year’s MƎTHESIS metal 3D printing event. The experimental structure that Zaha Hadid Architects designed for the event in Italy, themed “White in the City,” is called “Thallus.”

“Named after the Greek word for flora that has no differentiation between stem and leaf, Thallus is an experimental structure investigating form and pattern generated by advanced manufacturing and computational methods,” Zaha Hadid Architects describes.

The breathtaking sculpture, obviously created all in white, demonstrates, and carries on, the ZHA CoDe (Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design) research group’s  investigations into, and experimentation with, robotic assisted design and computational design. The “Thallus” piece demonstrates the designs that can be achieved through the customization and mechanization from the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.

The tall, sculptural “Thallus” piece is currently on display at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. It almost looks like a more floral version of a lattice design, and it investigates the pattern and form that are generated by advanced manufacturing methods, and the computational methods caused by automated additive manufacturing, along with hot-wire cutting technology. Generating geometries through computational methods is an area often explored through 3D software and 3D printing, and its application to art can clearly lead to incredible, complex creations.

Differential growth methods are explored in the design, through both the diffusion and expansion that rise up from a solitary, continuous seed curve, which was iteratively guided, using simulation parameters, while at the same time being constrained to a surface.

According to Zaha Hadid Architects, “Density graduation and direction of growth have been defined by parameters such as proximity to boundaries, angled direction of rulings, as well as structural requirements.”

At some angles, you can see the shadows on the wall behind the unique structure that are created by its spiraling, winding form. The extruded structural strip that makes up “Thallus” was 3D printed, using six-axis robotic technology. The strip is actually a continuous line measuring seven kilometers in length, and it loops over and over again, in order to re-connect with itself on a ruled surface, which is a surface that can be swept out by moving a line in space. The structure’s overall shape “is tailored to a trimmed cylinder that enables a hot-wire cutting process to create the mould of the base on which the continuous structural strip has been robotically 3D printed.”

The primary sponsor for the “Thallus” structure is OIKOS, while Robotic Additive Manufacturing was in charge of the artificial intelligence (AI) build. Discuss in the Zaha Hadid forum at 3DPB.com.

[Sources: Zaha Hadid Architects, Design Boom / Images: Luke Hayes]

 

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