These are exciting times for architects who are pushing the technology envelope. 3D printing is not only offering new and better solutions for creating architectural models, but also changing the way buildings are built – check out this BBC article about a 3D printed canal home planned in Amsterdam. Speed, materials, location and “builders” (Robots instead of people? On the moon instead of on Earth?) are all in the midst of experimentation!
The need for shelter from the elements is in our DNA, ranking with food, water and clothing for survival purposes. The field of architecture grew out of this need, with civilizations adding new designs, techniques, and building materials to comfortably and stylishly house their citizens.
Just as the Roman arch, Greek columns, and thatched roofs propelled architecture forward, now the prospects of 3D printing, robotics and “augmented reality” are poised to spark the next architectural leapfrog. For example, take a look at this architect’s plan to actually print a house.
While we’re waiting to see what advances in architecture can or should be adopted on a large scale, 3D printed models are enabling us to better “experience” building plans - as fine details become more visible and the architect’s vision is more easily communicated. See the Stratasys blog post Different Ways Architects Use 3D Printing.