C D R M X — Autonomous Neighborhood Printing

Design for a semi-ridiculous and fully-autonomous neighborhood printer
20 Mar 2018
Laboratorio Para la Ciudad, Mexico City Local Government
Mexico City, MX

The 'Sprinter': Your Friendly Neighborhood Printer

As a piece of world­build­ing for the CDRMX Project, this spec­u­la­tive archi­tec­tur­al print­er was in part born out of a joke while look­ing at pic­tures of aban­doned cas­tle homes in Burj Al Babas, Turkey, think­ing this was the work of drone print­ers gone rogue.

Burj Al Babas, Turkey

Beyond its debat­able esthet­ics — the design­ers alleged­ly attempt­ed to cre­ate some­thing that would "blend" with the local envi­ron­ment –  lies an attempt at imag­in­ing what form rapid con­struc­tion could take in the near future, and specif­i­cal­ly the future of Mex­i­co City. In this con­text, the task was to relo­cate entire neigh­bor­hoods and their peo­ple in a record time, all while adopt­ing an approach to durable archi­tec­ture that could with­stand the seis­mic activ­i­ty in the Val­ley of Mexico.

To achieve this, the Sprint­er would not only pro­duce hous­es, but also side­walks, and drainage sys­tems, and would do so with a mix of poly­mer and geopoly­mer con­crete, care­ful­ly coor­di­nat­ed to cre­ate "soft" foun­da­tions that can absorb tremors caused by poten­tial earthquakes.

2022 edit regarding 3D printable concrete

In this fic­tion we imag­ined our con­struc­tion mate­r­i­al to make use of rub­ble, sed­i­ment, and what­ev­er would be left after demol­ish­ing old neigh­bor­hoods to re-make some lake space. While there is sub­stan­tial­ly less of a spot­light on 3D print­ing, fan­tas­tic mate­ri­als are being imag­ined today to achieve such archi­tec­tur­al forms minus the "nasty" con­crete. If you want to geek out on that, here's an exam­ple from a small dutch com­pa­ny called Omlab pre­sent­ing their approach with cir­cu­lar­i­ty in mind.