Nature as an Architect
Undoubtedly the most profound and flawless forms in terms of efficiency, aesthetics, structure, abundance etc. are found in nature.
Biomimicry, or learning how to design from nature’s creations, is one of the drives of 3D printing technologies. Sophisticated organic forms in structural elements with excellent load-bearing capacities are hard to make, mainly because of the difficult and expensive process of fabricating form-works, able to sustain a concrete structure with an unorthodox shape until it hardens. With the use of 3D printers form-works become redundant, and most efficient as well as elaborate structural elements can be created in factories and brought on site for assembly, without wasting any material.
Another fascination of the team inspiring this research project, is bone structures and more specifically – Wolff’s law, or the ability of bones to adapt to the loads acting upon them (Fratzl, 2007). An excellent example in construction, amongst a few, of a responsive material is the experimental concrete being developed at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, containing lime-producing bacteria, which activates by water penetrating into the structure and "patches up" cracks where necessary (BBC, 2012). All this inspired an idea: is it possible to create structures responsive to the outside environment with the use of CNC technologies?