Printing Out Buildings: R&Sie;(n)'s Museum of Ice


François Roche of French architecture firm R&Sie;(n) (their invisible house here ) won the competition to build a new "museum of ice"- an art museum and alpine ice research station in Évolène, Switzerland. (We suppose like Joni Mitchell's Tree Museum, we are going to need Ice Museums). They are going to build it with a monster CNC machine in Lausanne, like stacking up a loaf of bread.


The Architects Newsletter says:

To build the museum, which is currently in design development, Roche plans to take 1,000 locally harvested trees, turn them into plywood, and mill them into fragments 2.5 meters wide by 7 meters long. These vertical "slices," each 90 centimeters deep, will serve as the structural system, holding mechanical services within their depth. Assembled like a loaf of bread on site, the slices will be glued together with a resin system and wooden dowels (code-required concrete is used only in the elevator core). And it's all generated directly from Roche's computer model, which in turn drives the milling machine."


"Roche turned to a large-scale CNC facility run by the company Ducret-Orges, near Lausanne. Here, he found a five-axis machine originally developed to create components to restore the region's medieval buildings. With a working area measuring 40 meters long and 5 meters wide, the machine could fabricate not just a model of the building, or small parts of it, but full-scale structural slices. "We discovered that we could produce an enormous piece," Roche said. Moreover, the five-axis router allowed him to realize the computer-modeled design in its full ganglionic glory. "The jump to five-axis makes it all possible," he added. "Three-axis machines simplified the shape. Now with five-axis you get the original shape itself."


The eight-axis robot, top, at ETH's digital fabrication studio in Zurich creates brick walls in custom patterns.
::R&Sie;(n) and ::Architects Newspaper

Related Content on