Fractal architecture

Ornate ceiling
Originally uploaded by subblue

Everybody knows fractal images (such as the Mandelbrot ones). They are normally two-dimensional, but three-dimensional versions do exist, too.

With the emergence of 3D printers, it has suddenly become relatively easy and cheap to print out such three-dimensional fractal shapes.

I can’t help thinking that if you use the largest 3D printers that are designed for printing houses, it would suddenly become feasible to get computers to design and build fractal houses.

I’m not sure anybody would really want completely fractal rooms inside their house — I would certainly prefer a smooth floor and a window in every room — but I’m sure the technology could be used for making houses that at least on the outside looked much more organic. There would be no reason to build smooth concrete surfaces when the house printer could just as easily create beautiful details everywhere.

I imagine it would be slightly similar to Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, which is also full of endless details.

House printer

According to this article, a machine that allows a computer to build a house using gypsum and concrete – basically a house printer – has now been invented. It sounds really cool, but as somebody asked on Slashdot: How does such a machine build flat roofs and other structures that are not supported from beneath? The video beneath seems to indicate it puts in beams first, but surely that’s not always wanted.

Anyway, while this is a wonderful first step – perhaps we’ll all soon live in Gaudi-style houses – I really hope they will start supporting other materials soon. Using wood, brick and natural stone rather than concrete makes for much more attractive houses, but at the moment, it requires much more manpower. In the future, hopefully robots can use most reasonable materials, and we can finally get the houses we want!

Here’s is a video about it: