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Giant 3D printed butterfly sanctuary building in New York City

Published on July 2, 2019 by Carlota V.
butterfly sanctuary

The Brooklyn-based nonprofit architecture and urban design group, Terreform One revealed an incredible design concept for an urban ‘Monarch Butterfly’ sanctuary to be set in the Big Apple. The vertical meadow façade they imagined would be 3D printed in carbon components in order to nourish the butterflies.

Why this concept? Terreform One always seeks to create projects that illuminate the environmental possibilities of urban areas and inspire climate-based solutions around the world. The group brings together scientists, artists, architects and individuals who share a passion for design and environmental issues – in other words, ecological design. The monarch butterfly is dying at extremely concerning rates, therefore this initiative would provide a breeding ground and stopover habitat for wild monarchs on the roof and rear façade. On the other hand, the idea is also to grow monarchs on site so that these monarchs join the wild population that is stopping by to increase their population over the years.

monarch sanctuary

Diagram showing the different habitats within the building that would allow the butterflies to breed and grow | Credits: Terreform One

The façade would be that of an eight-story, 30,000 square feet building in New York. The special vegetation that would grow out of the wall would provide the right support for monarch butterflies throughout their life cycle. This isn’t the first time we have talked about 3D printed tiles, but once again the concept is ingenious to allow plants and flowers to grow from a façade. Terreform One imagined 3D printed tiles made from carbon-sequestering concrete that will feature suspended milkweed vines and flowers.

Another diagram of the building concept | Credits: Terreform One

Mitchell Joachim, Terreform One co-founder told Fast Company, “We realized that what’s happening is literally extinction–to us and everything around us. The thought was we need to change our mantra from a group that’s consulting about the environment to a group that deals with design against extinction.”

Close up of the habitat structure for the butterfly | Credits: Terreform One

At the moment a timeline for the project has not been released and the building still needs to undergo permitting and approval. You can find more information HERE.

You can also learn more about the impact of 3D printing on architecture and construction HERE.

What do you think of Terreform One’s newest project? Let us know what you think in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, with all the latest news in 3D printing delivered straight to your inbox!

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