Inition develops "augmented 3D printing"
for architects


News: 3D technology company Inition has developed an augmented-reality iPad app that allows architects to look inside static architectural models, visualise how their building will look at night and track how wind flows around their design proposals (+ movie).

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

The London-based company used a 3D-printed scale model of The Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to showcase the technology, which can also be used to reveal a building's structure and services.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

Inition director Andy Millns described the technology as "augmented 3D-printing".

Inition develops augmented 3D printing for architects

"3D-printed models have benefits and augmented reality has other benefits, so we thought we'd bring the two together to get the best of both," Millns told Dezeen. "We approached one of our existing clients, Zaha Hadid, and came up with the idea of augmenting one of their buildings."

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

By pointing an iPad at the 3D model, architects can call up a variety of information overlays that combine with the physical model.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

The physical model sits on a patterned mat that acts as a marker, allowing the iPad to keep track of the model as the user moves around.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

Millns said the technology could be particularly useful to architects when reviewing their designs or presenting to clients: "It's much easier than showing traditional architectural plans," he said.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

The iPad screen can display the building in its environment with trees, passing cars and moving pedestrians and the user can switch between day and night views. Audio replicates the sound of traffic and birds during the day, with chirping crickets taking over at night.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

Other views can show the building's location on a Google map or reveal windflow data, internal floorplans, wireframe views and information about the programme.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

“Augmented reality in the broadest sense has already had a great impact in the built environment with regards to generating easy to understand overlays of digital information and graphics," said Shaun Farrell, head of building information modelling at Zaha Hadid Architects. "This transfers well to the smaller scale of 3D printing, allowing for direct visual context as an overlay on to a real-world replica of the project and intuitive, useable and accessible navigation."

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

Millns said the collaboration with Hadid was intended as a proof of concept to find out what kinds of augmented-reality data would be useful to architects.

Inition develops "augmented 3D printing" for architects

The technology could be used to simulate events such as fire evacuations, displaying the way people would leave a building or move through a park or urban district, he added.

See all our stories about 3D printing »

  • Michal appears to have done this earlier.

    • Your comment is slightly less than useless. This is an extremely interesting development and the more people we have working in parallel on groundbreaking technologies the better. Popping in to say “they did it first” as if anyone has reached the pinnacle of the state of the art already and we should all just leave it at that is pretty stupid, and frankly infuriatingly common.

      Rant over. Carry on.

      • Agree, plus I googled If they are working in this space they suck at marketing!

      • Michal

        To be totally honest, first of all I don’t see much gain from this technology. It’s just another way for visualizing your 3D content and in my humble view this particular method will not go as far as everyone imagines due to its limitations.

        Although it is an interesting development indeed. But as such I think it’s good to recognize those who got to some results first, especially in the current everyone-can-do-everything era.

        I’m not a hater and I will carry on, but please open your eyes and be more critical towards the content powerful websites like Dezeen serves you everyday.

        • David

          It absolutely is just a way to visualise your 3D content but you seem to have completely overlooked that it is a fun and playful one that any client would enjoy. As architects, something that allows us to convey complex three-dimensional relationships in a simple way is a powerful tool.

          The strongest part was being able to overlay ghosted information and allow the viewer to explore and understand the logic of the design with colour coding and a sense of scale. And anyway, disregarding all that – what is wrong with a little showmanship?

  • It looks like just another marketing tool, but I see how it could develop into much, much more.

  • That seems to be pretty cool, although I cannot picture myself how it could work in practice. For a presentation tool, it is too expensive to develop it for every concept model, but as I see it doesn’t recognize or analyze geometries intelligently, it only projects some graphical information from a database. Gr8 idea btw.

  • Shut up and take my money!

  • guest

    It is similar to AR Media Plugin. How is that “printing”? I don’t get it. Model is still not a marker.

    @Michał deliver “solutions” for augumented reality. There’s no ready-to-download app.

  • Nick

    @burtja Again agree, although marketing doesn’t have to always involve shooting something with an SLR and posting it on Vimeo – Urbasee are another company in the running too.

    Could be developed into something with really interesting model walkthroughs, or in the end (I can only dream here) holograms!

  • mahmoud

    Great, but is there any real project that has used augmented reality technology during the design process of during construction?

  • mike

    In an effort to avoid saying “they did this first,” I’ll just point out a similar proposal. It’s cool that some actual functionality has been added since then. It seems though that the success of this technology depends solely on the popularity of tablets.

  • Akeel

    Damn, why is it cool stuff comes out when I’m finished with education? Still can’t wait to use this software! I hope it’s open to all types of tablets because Apple a little pricey.

  • Amit

    Just another left-brained gimmick! How does this really enrich my architectural experience and consume my psyche when out there confronting with the building?

  • hugoArchi

    I love it… How do I get this software? I’m an architecture student designing a high-tech city and this could be amazingly useful as a presentation tool!

  • Great! We can realise how wonderfully and dramatically our technology has been improving. I hope in the very near future we will get lot of beneficial updates from 3D technology. Right?

  • Great! We can realise how wonderfully and dramatically our technology has been improving. I hope in the very near future we will get a lot of beneficial updates from 3D technology. Right?