Building Bytes 3D printed bricks
by Brian Peters

| 8 comments

Dutch Design Week: architect Brian Peters has adapted a desktop 3D printer to produce ceramic bricks for building architectural structures (+ movie).

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

"I've been working with desktop 3D printers for the past couple of years and wanted to transform the machine to build something on a larger, more architectural scale," Peters told Dezeen.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

A 6-week residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre in the south of the Netherlands provided him with the opportunity to experiment with printing ceramics from a liquid earthenware recipe normally used in mould-making.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

The only modification required for the printer was the addition of a custom extrusion head.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

The resulting Building Bytes project predicts that 3D printers will become portable, inexpensive brick factories for large-scale construction.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

"You could have several of these machines working simultaneously on site using pre-made or locally manufactured material," he says. "It doesn't have to be necessarily ceramic - it could be concrete or cement or any mixture of building materials."

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

Peters developed two approaches to construction using the bricks: a uniform structure using multiples of the same brick, or a varied structure where each brick is uniquely shaped to create a complex form.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

"It takes 15 minutes to print a brick at the moment so I don't think I'd be necessarily competing with existing construction materials but the benefits are that you can design a custom-made house or structure and have it assembled on site," he said.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

For Dutch Design Week Peters demonstrated the machine and showed some of the brick patterns he's developed at Schellensfabriek, a former textile factory in Eindhoven, as part of the Show Your Color exhibition presenting work from artists' residencies with Dutch organisations including the European Ceramic Work Centre.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

Based in Amsterdam, Peters is co-founder of architecture studio Design Lab Workshop and is currently working with DUS Architects to create a large 3D printer for making full-scale structures.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

3D printing is a hot topic at the moment and other applications of the technology for construction include a house that would be 3D printed in sections then fitted together on site and a robot that creates architectural structures from sand or soil. See all our stories about 3D printing.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

Dutch Design Week took place from 20 to 28 October and you can see all our stories about it here.

Building Bytes 3D printed bricks by Brian Peters

  • Damian

    Unfold from Antwerpen are also really good at this.

  • so

    Why, for god’s sake, would you fabricate a standardized module with a machine that can vary each element individually and that’s power exactly lies within that possibility. For making repetitive brick shapes there are better fabrication techniques available.

    • Ralf

      Because they can?

    • not_steven

      They are – if you look at the star shaped piece, that looks like it tapers as the column gets taller.

      First, start with standard things and find out about tolerances and possibilities. Then move on to custom pieces.

    • elciok

      Sometimes you need some units from a standardized module to build a wall or something, but in a quantity that is not enough to be worth building it on a large scale using more traditional techniques. But looking at the pictures I doubt it would be easy.

      Some of these bricks remind me of the cobogo bricks created in Brazil, as shown in this picture: http://arqfolio.com.br/fotos/3674

  • mspruiell

    Love the idea and the ability to customize. That is only half the need though – you can make the bricks on site but what about firing them? In its current state, it seems like this would be great for small-scale applications but still needs a bit of development to work out the whole process.

  • http://parametric-art.com/ bonooobong

    If each part is the same, there is a better solution for producing small series, you only make the tool for brick fabrication via 3d printing, and after that you can mould the bricks. The special elements which build an arch, I mean the ones with those interesting cross sections look genial, the connection details fit the normal bricklayer practice.

  • cdg

    I like the idea to a degree, however it seems like within each individual layer the coil should be struck in order to form a bond between each of them. That’s how you make coil pottery strong. I don’t see the practicality in marrying clay without a striking technique. Granted it might have/be some fancy built in agent, I don’t know.