Column as a symbol for new architectural possibilities

The impressive column created by London architects and designers Sam Welham and Richard Beckett is a masterpiece that has generated considerable attention, and it also highlights the versatility of 3D print technology in architecture. The sculptural element soars to a height of 2.1 meters and consists of two halves. The lower half was printed with a medium resolution and a layer thickness of 0.3 millimeters in sand. It transitions into the white region made of high-resolution PMMA plastic with a layer thickness of 0.15 millimeters. 

Both components were produced on high-performance 3D printers at the voxeljet service center in Friedberg. Even though the molds were very large and complex, and featured numerous undercuts, it was nevertheless possible to print the parts in one piece. The large-format VX4000 printer took less than 20 hours to print the lower sand half, which is 1.14 meters high and weighs 134 kilograms. The upper plastic half, which weighs 52 kilograms, is almost one meter high. It was created on a VX1000 printer in a build time of approximately 34 hours.

Sam Welham is very excited about the technical possibilities offered by 3D printing, and in particular the precision and size of the voxeljet printers. In their opinion, voxeljet's large-format printers are currently the best option for producing detailed and ornamental architectural elements.  He offers as proof the aesthetic column, whose geometry utilizes a novel and at the same time independent architectural language with references to historical and neo-digital designs. At the same time, the sculpture underlines the fact that 3D printing is no longer used just for the production of prototypes and models, but also for architecture at a 1:1 scale.

Technical data

Total size   947 x 540 x459 mm Total size 1,141 x 538 x 471 mm
Weight  52 kgWeight 134 kg
Individual pieces1Individual pieces1
Material PMMAMaterialSand
Layer thickness  0.15 mmLayer thickness 0.3 mm
Build time 34 hoursBuild time 20 hours