3D printed structures have already made their way into the world of architecture with 3D printed houses to change our word and inspiring future 3D printed houses for other worlds. Now, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), the Barcelonan experimental and experiential center is making strides (pun intended) into the public construction sector with the world’s first 3D printed pedestrian bridge:
Unlike some 3D printed creations, this bridge doesn’t have an obscure name. Heck, it doesn’t even have a name. Nevertheless, it has been standing tall at the Castilla-La Mancha Park in Alcobendas, Madrid ever since its inauguration last December 14, 2019.
Measuring 39.3 feet (12 meters) long and (5.75 feet (1.75 meters) wide, the bridge is made of micro-reinforced concrete and was given a parametric design which, according to the IAAC, “allows to optimize the distribution of materials and minimize the amount of waste by recycling the raw material during manufacture”. This makes the printing process more efficient while ensuring the bridge design is structurally solid.
The design also takes some cues from patterns found in nature. The side rails have a flowing motif to them which looks like flowing water or an aged tree trunk.
While the bridge was made by the IAAC, the project was led by ACCIONA and developed by a team of architects, engineers, and municipal representatives. May we just recommend, however, that it could do with a little Gaudí Barcelona charm – more the top of Casa Batlló thank the side.
This may only be just a simple pedestrian bridge but, given time, it has set in place the future of 3D printing longer, wider, and more complex vehicular bridges.