photoWith the reliance of 3D models in architecture, 3D printing inserted itself into the field almost instantly, attracting architects and professionals already using traditional methods to produce tangible models for displaying urban and geographic buildings and areas.

With the ease and expanded creativity and results afforded by 3D design, architects are able to build entire landscapes and urban geographies which can also be changed or transformed from existing designs efficiently and without recreating the wheel.

Use of 3D printed models is currently an excellent way to educate people on geography as they are able not only to check out amazing technology but also to make use of a comprehensive visual tool that allows for viewers to, literally, have their city or neighborhood in the palms of their hands — now there’s a way to get in ‘touch’ with your surroundings.

WTA-ArchitectureBased in the Phillipines, architects at WTA Architecture and Design Studio in Manila have recently produced an exhibit just so people can get a true sense for how the city has evolved. In a way that allows the exhibitgoers to physically touch Manila and its communities in 3D, and have their own unique opinions, emotions, and ideas regarding the city, they also explore the many and unique communities that have sprouted up in sprawling Manila.

With an extremely dense population, Manila boasts the second largest population in the Philippines. Situated on Manila Bay, the capital city is home to roughly 12 million people in the greater metro area, attributing to the massive growth and creation of so many different communities now depicted in ‘Fragments,’ the vibrant 3D printed architectural exhibit presented by WTA Studio.

fragments-2WTA was looking for a deliberately unique and showstopping way to demonstrate the massive and unique growth of the city somewhat uninhibited by regulation, in direct contrast to the uniform expansion being directed in other Asian cities with large populations. They enjoyed the use of 3D printing because of the precision afforded, and the aesthetic value for the viewers. Using a medium that manipulates the senses, WTA gives a sophisticated way of looking at how the city’s population has grown and moved over time.

“3D printing is an amazing presentation tool. It allows us to create accurate, portable models on a small scale and gives people a chance to hold it in their hands and examine it more closely,” said WTA Principal Architect William Ti. “When people feel a model in their palms and run their fingers over the texture it gives them a more intimate connection to what, for most of them, are very abstract ideas of architecture.”

Displaying what is definitely a more ‘fragmented’ method of city planning — or lack thereof — WTA hopes to drive their point home that without the rigidity of laws and planning in urban areas, citizens can create a wonderful, vibrant, beautiful home and business areas as time goes on. Over decades and centuries, individuals find or move to new areas that they call home, and establish communities that last for generations.

The team at WTA didn’t just make any old 3D printed models though. These are displayed in an artfully colored, angular presentation which is truly sensational artwork in itself. Featuring 3D printed crystalline maps, they endeavored to represent the beauty and varying typology they see in the city they call home that still has enormous old-world charm mixed in with the modern.

“These maps also try to capture the sounds and smells of the neighborhood and bring them to the exhibition. We hope to work with composers and scent makers to better allow us to complete the experience of being in these communities. The [auditory] and olfactory along with the visual experience of say a cavernous hall or a green field better defines the spatial experience and allows us to further illustrate the importance of character,” said Ti.

What are you thoughts on the unique way these architects have used 3D printing to present Manila? Do you think 3D printing is a good tool for city planning? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Presentation of Manila forum over at 3DPB.com.

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