Striatus: world’s first 3D printed bridge

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The first-of-its kind three-dimensional concrete printed bridge was opened to the public last week in Venice.

The footbridge holds together simply through compression, with no reinforcements. It applies computational design and 3D printing for minimal material use and maximum strength.

Striatus was designed by Block Research Group and Zaha Hadid Architects, in collaboration with incremental3D and Holcim.

“The name ‘Striatus’ reflects the bridge’s structural logic and fabrication process,” says Philippe Block, co-director of the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich. “In arched and vaulted structures, material is placed such that forces can travel to the supports in pure compression. Strength is created through geometry, using a fraction of the materials used in conventional concrete beams,” he adds.

striatus underneath

For Holcim CEO Jan Jenisch, the project demonstrates the possibilities of 3D printing to enable more sustainable, faster and effective building structures, saying, “Its digital and circular design uses concrete at its best, with minimal material use and blocks that can be repeatedly reassembled and infinitely recycled.”

The bridge was made possible by a specific, custom-made ink from Holcim’s TectorPrint range.

In April the brand launched ECOPact concrete, which can help architects and builders reduce embodied carbon by 30 to 60 percent in Australia, says a Holcim media release. ECOPact green concrete includes recycled construction and demolition waste.

Holcim is also working on a range of applications around the world, including the world’s first 3D concrete printed school, the walls of which took only 18 hours to build, and which used 70 percent less materials than traditional building techniques. Its technology has also been used in the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Sydney Metro, Snowy Hydro 2.0 and ACT light rail.

Shajay Bhooshan, head of CODE, Zaha Hadid Architects’ computation and design research, says Striatus takes “the structural logic of the 1600s into the future with digital computation, engineering and robotic manufacturing technologies”.

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