Smith|Allen create "the world’s first 3D printed, full-scale architectural installation"

It is a lovely piece of architectural sculpture, the Echoviren, built by Bryan Allen and Stephanie Smith of Smith|Allen. The artists describe it:

Spanning 10 x 10 x 8 feet, Echoviren is a translucent white enclosure, stark and artificial against the natural palette of reds and greens of the forest. Walking around and within the structure, the viewer is immediately consumed by the juxtaposition, as well as uncanny similarity, of natural and unnatural: the large oculus, open floor, and porous surface framing the surrounding coastal landscape.

Echoviren night© Smith|allen

The designers used 7 Type A Machine 3D printers running for two months to create 500 pieces that snap together into the structure that took the artists four days to assemble. They claim that the PLA plastic will "decompose naturally back into the forest in 30 to 50 years. As it weathers it will become a micro-habitat for insects, moss, and birds."

closeup© Smith|Allen

It is a good example of a technique that a few designers are attempting, where a larger structure is built out of small snap-together components, since that is the limitation of this kind of printer.

oculus© Smith|Allen

What it's not:

The designers claim it is "the world’s first 3D printed, full-scale architectural installation." Clearly it's not, Enrico Dini has been doing that for years It is also a stretch to call it "environmentally friendly" as does just because it is made from the corn-based plastic PLA; as noted when covering the KamerMaker 3D printer (which also turns out room-sized structures) the stuff is not completely guilt-free. See Elizabeth Royte's great article on PLA in the Smithsonian for more information.

But aside from those minor cavils, It is a lovely piece.

Tags: Downloadable Design | Plastics


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