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tgs Lab: 3D Printing Vulcan

VULCAN has been awarded with the Guinness World Record for being the biggest 3D printed architectural structure in the world (by definition: a piece of architecture by academic standard, which is to take up nearly 100 sqm, and can be taken apart or assembled at will).

Its location used to be the central atrium of the high-tech style shopping and office complex of Parkview Green, which was one of the venues during Beijing Design Week 2015.

“Vulcan” comes from the latin word “Vulcanus”, that, according to the Roman mythology, was the name of the God of Fire.
The idea of VULCAN is connected to a sense of fear and respect for the unpredictable forces of nature, while suggesting the fragility yet courage of the human civilization when facing them.

VULCAN is an arched structure similar to the mushroom cloud that originates during a volcanic eruption. It serves as a medium for matter to “self-release” when exposed to tremendous force and pressure. Simultaneously, its formation depends on the activity of such a natural phenomenon. There is a sort of parallelism between nature, shaping its miracles through a complex cycle of violent change and self-rebalancing, and humankind, who found in the “arch” the perfect original form.
That is why VULCAN has been shaped on the form of an arch, based on the natural structural form that perfectly defines an erupting volcano.

VULCAN was located within an equilateral triangle. The form naturally renders itself through counter-gravity calculations, reflecting the spatial balance of matter and gravity. Made up of 1086 different 3D-printed constructive units, it has a symmetry of 120 degrees, a length of 8,08 meters and it is 2,88 meters tall. It has a flexible structure, as it can be subdivided in three identical modules that can be organized in order to fit the site of exhibition and the requirements of the activity areas.
It took three months for developing the concept of the installation, one month for detail design, 30 days for 20 big size 3D printers to print the units and the work of 15 people to assemble the pieces to build the whole pavilion.

The project takes precedent from LCD’s long term research in the spatial form of cocoons. The team has constantly searched for suitable methods for 3D printing its artistic reinterpretations. Combining the spatial construction processes with the use of the 3D printing technology, resulted in the creation of this “parent body” for many activities organized during the BJDW 2015.

So far, not many people have tried to apply the 3D printing technology to the construction of such large scale and complex spaces. LCD’s designers have developed radical new ways of using it, with the support of new design techniques and construction methods.

Design & Fabrication: LCD (Laboratory for Creative Design)
Design Team: Yu Lei, Feng Xu, Liu Zhongyuan, Guo Wenqiang, Wang Feng, Chen Siqi, Xiao Sai
Sponsored by: Beijing Design Week, ACSC, ParkViewGreen
Site: ParkViewGreen