Here's a project that could pave way to structures both unique and affordable. A team of researchers from the UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design has unveiled the Bloom Pavilion, which they call "the first and largest powder-based 3D-printed cement structure." It measures 9 feet high, 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep, with a traditional Thai floral motif design. The pavilion is not the first 3D-printed building, to be clear. A Chinese company built 10 houses in under 24 hours last year and finished a whopping 5-storey apartment block in January using 3D-printed parts. Plus, there's that 3D-printed castle in Minnesota. However, it was created using dry powdered cement, whereas other 3D-printed buildings were made by extruding wet cement through a nozzle.
According to team leader Ronald Rael, they "are mixing polymers with cement and fibers to produce very strong, lightweight, high-resolution parts on readily available equipment; it's a very precise, yet frugal technique." The pavilion will be shipped to the team's sponsor in Thailand to be displayed for several months, before being exhibited in other places around the world.