Zaha Hadid Architects design 3D print structure for Milan Design Week

Image: Luke Hayes

The Head of Computation and Design at Zaha Hadid Architects recently created a experimental structure, using 3D printing technology, for Milan Design Week. The experimental structure that Zaha Hadid Architects designed for the event in Italy, themed ‘White in the City’ is called ‘Thallus’.

The sculpture created all in white, demonstrates, and carries on, the ZHA CoDe (Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design) research group’s  investigations into, and experimentation with, robotic assisted design and computational design. The ‘Thallus’ piece demonstrates the designs that can be achieved through the customisation and mechanisation from the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.

The ‘Thallus’ piece is currently on display at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. It looks like a more floral version of a lattice design, and it investigates the pattern and form that are generated by advanced manufacturing methods, and the computational methods caused by automated additive manufacturing, along with hot-wire cutting technology.

At some angles, one can see the shadows on the wall behind the unique structure that are created by its spiraling, winding form. The extruded structural strip that makes up ‘Thallus’ was 3D printed, using six-axis robotic technology. The strip is actually a continuous line measuring seven kilometers in length, and it loops over and over again, in order to re-connect with itself on a ruled surface, which is a surface that can be swept out by moving a line in space. The structure’s overall shape is tailored to a trimmed cylinder that enables a hot-wire cutting process to create the mould of the base on which the continuous structural strip has been robotically 3D printed.


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