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12 NEWS 3D PRINTING WATG develops 3D printed house design


Over the last year, WATG’s Chicago office has been developing a 3D printed house design which it wants to see built in 2018. Working with architectural fabricator


Branch Technology, the firm has confirmed that the wall section testing, research, and development phase of the project is currently underway, and that it is “working towards breaking ground later this year”. In 2016, the WATG Urban design team


were awarded first prize in The Freeform Home Design Challenge; a competition commissioned by Branch Technology to design the world’s first “freeform” 3D printed house, which explores how 3D printing technology can improve our built environment and lives today. Enlisting the services of Thornton


Tomasetti, the team has been printing test beams and partial wall sections to examine their load bearing capabilities. In generic printed beam tests, a three-foot long beam carried a load of approximately 3,600


pounds, while only weighing five pounds. WATG commented: “The freeform printed matrix is essentially a small space frame, making it highly efficient. The next stage will be to test the maximum load bearing qualities of each individual printed element of the structure.” Working alongside United States Gypsum, WATG and Branch Technology have been researching gypsum components that could be applied on the printed struc- ture for fire protection, structural reinforce- ment and to create a substrate for the


application of finished wall materials. Commenting on the project, a team spokesperson said: “It’s important the architecture and the environment work together harmoniously. The chosen site is steps away from the Tennessee River in a beautiful wooded, sunlit area. The house will blend seamlessly into the environment, while also being naturally shaded and protected from solar radiation. WATG is currently producing detailed design drawings and working in collaboration with the City of Chattanooga.”


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ADF FEBRUARY 2018


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