You are the Architect!

Empowering the user by providing a design experience for personalized 3D Printed Condominiums. 

Summary

I was inspired by the latest technology of additive manufacturing and wanted to explore its application in the field of architecture. The goal of this project was to make the architectural design process more user-centric by utilizing the benefits of 3D printing technology.

This was done by tweaking the architectural design process and empowering the user to design their custom condominiums using lego-like building blocks.

Type

Experience design + Architecture,

Individual,

Undergraduate academic thesis for

Bachelor of Architecture

Tools

Photoshop, AutoCAD, Sketchup, physical prototyping

The Process:

User participation

Participatory Design

The clients are given 12 essential spaces of the house in the form of small boxes representing rooms/spaces of a house (example bedroom, toilet) with labels, and are asked to arrange them according to their preferences, only constraints being the dimension of the base plate on which they have to arrange the pieces:

Breadth: 15 meter

Length:   16 meter

Height      8 meter

To emulate the process, I conducted an exercise with the help of three participants. Each participant was given labeled box-board pieces which represented different spaces of a house. They arranged it according to their preferences and I used their arrangements to derive 3D models, plans and sectional views which could be used to print the structure. The picture alongside shows one of the participants designing with the blocks and following is one such derivation.

The volumetric arrangements thus obtained is first converted into readable 3D model using software counterparts of the boxes.

In the next steps, this 3D model is further refined to extract readable plans. Complete design of the house is obtained by taking care of other technicalities such as placing doors, windows and creating lobbies/corridors at the appropriate places in the arrangements.

Forming a neighborhood:

A floor plate comprises eight slots. Only four slots can be occupied by residents, two are reserved for open green space and two are reserved for cutouts. Clients are given an option to collaborate with other clients who have purchased properties on the same floor and customise the floor plate according to their preferences and choices, thus forming a neighborhood. ​

This process makes the design of the building dynamic with the vast number of possible configurations. Given below are examples of two different floorplate configurations.After the design of the houses and the floorplates are finalized as per clients’ preferences, they are 3D printed separately and assembled on site.

Slot for customized house

Example 2

Example 1

Example 2: Refined design of the floor plate showing horizontal and vertical circulation and detailed plans. 

Reserved

green

space

Empty

Slot

3D-printed house blocks are fixed to the floor plates.

The pre-fabricated floor plates with the custom house modules are stacked and held together by two external and four internal vertical support members as depicted in the figure.The external bracing is designed strategically to support the different house module’s weight according to their pre-decided location on the floor plate.

Putting it together:

Sheer walls

P. Lift wells

Car Lift wells

Stair wells

Floor frames

External

Bracing

Internal

Stuctural

Members

External

Stuctural

Members

Making it real - Construction proposal:

Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. The proposal is to use this technique to print the customized houses, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning and also the structural members.

Customized parts for the building such as custom beams, columns, sections, plates, fasteners can also be easily 3D printed according to the design requirement, individually.

Visualization and physical models: