Rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing at Foster + Partners

Brady Peters, Xavier De Kestelier

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    Over the last 15 years, rapid prototyping has been an integral part of the design process in the car and aerospace industry. Recently the architecture profession has started to use these techniques in its design process (2006 Greg Corke), and some architecture schools have begun experimenting with these technologies. Foster + Partners was one of the first practices to fully integrate rapid prototyping within its design process. The technology was initially seen as a sketch model making tool in the early stages of the design, and in particular for projects with complicated geometries. It surpassed this purpose within a year and it is now seen an essential design tool for many projects and in for many project stages. As of spring 2008, the office’s rapid prototyping department now produces about 4000 models a year. Besides, or perhaps because of, rapid prototyping, Foster + Partners has started to experiment
    with rapid manufacturing. This first was done through the design and manufacture of a Christmas tree for the charity organisation Save the Children. Foster + Partners has also committed to a research project with the Freeform Construction Unit at the University of Loughborough. Its goal is to design and manufacture a 3D printer that will be able to print building components or even complete architectural structures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSilicon + Skin: Biological Processes and Computation : Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)
    Number of pages8
    Publication date2009
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9789463-4-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventACADIA 2008 - Minneapolis, United States
    Duration: 16 Oct 200819 Oct 2008
    Conference number: 28


    ConferenceACADIA 2008
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


    • complex geometry
    • rapid prototyping
    • rapid manufacturing

    Artistic research

    • No

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