Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled a new experimental structure as part of Milan’s White In The City Exhibition during the city’s annual Salone del Mobile. Held at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in the heart of Milan’s design district, the exhibition explored the contemporary use of white color in design and architecture across various locations in the city. Named the Thallus – after the Greek word for flora that is not differentiated into stem and leaves, the sculpture is the latest in ZHA’s investigations using 3D printing technology. Thallus continues Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design (ZHA CoDe) group’s research into generating geometries through robotic-assisted design.
Thallus is made from a premium polylactide plastic used in 3D printing. The structure is created by hot wire cutting technology and automated additive manufacturing. Its shape is generated from a ruled surface tailored to a trimmed cylinder, that allows the hot-wire cutting process to create the mold of the sculpture’s base. The mold then becomes the starting point where the structural strip continuously prints. Six-axis robotic 3D-printing technology created the 7km long extruded structural strip that loops around to connect with itself on a single ruled surface. The result is the continuous, calla lily-like geometry that is created through one single stroke.
The design explores the different ways in which a curve is guided along a reference surface, changing its density and growth through parametric boundaries. The differences in pattern on the structure’s surface, from closely-knit to large curves are defined by parameters ranging from proximity to its edges, structural requirements and the angled directions it took during printing. The creation of Thallus’ structure from ZHA CoDe demonstrates what can now be achieved in terms of mechanization and customization in the architecture, construction and engineering industries.
- Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
- Location: Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy
- Design: Zaha Hadid Design, Patrik Schumacher
- Design Team: ZHA Code: Shajay Bhooshan, Henry David Louth, Marko Margeta
- Project Management: Maha Kutay, Woody Yao, Manon Janssens
- Contributors: Ai Build – Robotic Additive Manufacturing, Odico Formwork Robotics – Robotic Formworks, Armadillo Engineering – Metal works
- Primary Sponsor: OIKOS
- Project Year: 2017
- Photographs: Luke Hayes
Information via: Zaha Hadid Architects.