3D printing is being used for the construction of just about everything, from human organ tissues to buildings. Current building construction that uses 3D printing simply mimics older construction techniques using the new tools. We are just now beginning to create new techniques that were not possible or practical previously.
The video below mentions the idea of “smart stones” or construction building blocks that have additional or advanced functionality built into them. It is now becoming increasingly practical to design building blocks that have many functions built into them like: insulation, utility conduits, structural integrity, weather proofing, and more. The smart blocks and/or panels can be designed to fit together enabling modular construction that manifests many different architectural concepts from the same simple building blocks.
Revolutionizing the way we build via digital fabrication technologies | Benjamin Dillenburger
Architects have so far used 3D printing mostly for making prototypes – but it could be scaled up, to enable “smart stones” to be printed on a building site and used to make buildings. Benjamin Dillenburger, Assistant Professor for Digital Building Technologies at ETH Zurich, explains how this promises to improve efficiency by integrating functions and reducing material use, and create a new architectural language by enabling greater complexity.