A 3D Printed Book Cabin Has Been Placed in a Shanghai Park

Published on September 20, 2021 by Madeleine P.

A book cabin that has been 3D printed from concrete has been placed in Shanghai’s Baoshan Wisdom Bay Science and Technology Park. Designed by Professor Xu Weiguo of Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture, the curved structure is part of the “Art Bridge Space” bookstore and can be used for exhibitions, academic discussions and literary exchange sessions. Both the 3D printer used in the project and the materials were developed by the team.

The combination of technology and literary culture is of particular interest. In fact, many books and articles related to additive manufacturing have been published. From books on 3D printing to guides on how to implement this production method, as well as interesting articles on the 3D revolution that is taking place worldwide thanks to the technology’s adoption by various companies. Another example of the overlap between literature and 3D printing, though this time in a more practical way, is the book “Silence”, which was 3D printed using flexible materials and which allows blind people to read it thanks to the embossed braille on the pages. This time, however, we are taking a closer look at an original concrete structure that serves as a small cabin for reading books and sharing knowledge about literature.

3D Printed Book Cabin

The construction process of the cabin and the interior

3D printing of the book booth

The development of the project began with a sketch of the idea, which was later transferred to Autodesk’s Maya software. There, the space and the structure were shaped, always according to the needs of the construction, in order to determine the execution of the system. Coding prior to printing allows the digital file to be completed so that the technology is able to follow the curved shape of the initial idea. To create the cabin, Professor Xu Weiguo’s team used a 3D printer with a robotic arm that extrudes the concrete layer by layer. Specifically, the material used is concrete that does not require reinforcement with steel bars or formwork. This is undoubtedly one of the great advantages of additive manufacturing in the construction sector, compared to traditional techniques that require more time, costs and materials.

In architectural terms, the structure has a cavity wall design, which is filled with thermal insulation mortar. The surface of the building has two types of textures, the first and most predominant in the form of laminated printing, and the other is a texture with a protruding textile pattern on the side wall in front of the entrance. The book booth has a total area of 30 square meters, so it can accommodate 15 people for various literary activities. In the upper part, there is a kind of dome that allows the entrance of natural light for the readers. This project shows, once again, the potential of 3D technology as a form of intelligent construction, thanks to the savings in time, materials and labor, in addition to allowing much more complex and irregular shapes than with other conventional methods.

3D Printed Book Cabin

The concrete wall at the entrance has an overhanging pattern.

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