AMS Spring 2023

BuiltinSG: 3D Printing Old Buildings in Celebration of Singapore’s 50th Birthday

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Day in and day out, I continue to be amazed by all the unique uses that people and companies come up with for 3D printing. What is so exciting is the fact that the technology has not yet even come close to hitting the mainstream, nor have we even begun to breach the surface of its potential.

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One Singapore-based company, called Mēkā, sees 3D printing as a way to create “memories”; memories that can be created through the use of 3D printing. The project that Mēkā is working on is called BuiltinSG, and it is currently being supported by the Singapore Memory Project’s irememberSG Fund, as part of the Singapore50 celebrations, celebrating Singapore’s 50th Birthday in 2015.

“We are striving to recreate old buildings in Singapore as 3D prints which are shared online through BuiltinSG,” Mēkā tells 3DPrint.com. “We are also conducting interviews with people from all walks of life and getting them to share their memories of these buildings. The models are shared freely on the site, and people are welcome to download and print them in their home or anywhere else they have access to a 3D Printer.”

BuiltinSG was born out of the stories that permeate the everyday lives of those living in Singapore, and Mēkā’s hope through this project is to immortalize the stories that these people have, both visually and physically. 3D printing provides just the means for doing so.

The first series from the BuiltinSG project will explore the places that have played a large role in the country’s development. It includes landmarks such as a theatre and religious icons such as a mosque and a church, all recreated through 3D printing technology.

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“BuiltinSG will take you on a visual journey exploring the different roles these buildings played as civic and cultural locations and how it shaped our lives as Singaporeans,” Mēkā explained. “Incorporating interviews with architects, builders and various stakeholders, these visual journeys will also be an exploration into how each building came to be. Each building will be immortalised as a 3D printed model that would allow a more physical and intimate look at the architecture.”

So far, three buildings have been 3D printed: The National Theatre, the Jamae Mosque, and the CHIJMES Church. The company is making these 3D models available for others to 3D print for free. All three can be downloaded from Thingiverse.

What do you think about the use of 3D printing in preserving cultural heritage? Discuss in the BuiltinSG forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the timelapse video below, showing the 3D printing of the National Theatre on a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer.

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