Spanish architects have used the wonders of 3D-printing technology to create “the world’s first” 3D-printed pedestrian bridge.
The bridge is the brainchild of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, who unveiled the bridge in December at the urban park of Castilla-La Mancha in Madrid. The bridge was printed using micro-reinforced concrete and measures 12 meters (39 feet) in length and 1.75 meters (5.7 feet) wide.
The team says the bridge “represents a milestone for the construction sector at international level” after 15 years of trying to achieve this feat.
Along with it being easy on the eye, the bridge holds many practical positives too. The designers used computer technology to ensure it's structurally sound, while also minimizing the amount of materials. The method used to craft it also allowed them to recycle the raw wastage material from the manufacturing process.
“In traditional architecture, there is a lot of waste material which you cannot remove, however, with 3D printing you can control where the material is deposited,” Areti Markopoulou, lead architect, told the MailOnline. “With this bridge we were able to experiment with complex forms that appear in nature and we made a design that would have been very difficult by conventional means.”
The world of building and design has been bracing for a boom in 3D-printing for a while, offering an easy and automated method of construction that creates beautiful and affordable structures. There’s even a pipe dream that we could build a moon base out of sand using 3D-printing technology. Widespread commercial use of 3D printing may not have had its day yet, but it remains ripe with promise.