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Historic Architecture Restored with 3-D Printing

Thursday, April 5, 2018

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Sweeping glass facades have replaced much of the once extensively detailed and ornamented buildings in urban areas, but EDG Architecture and Engineering has come up with a cost-effective way to bring the flair of character back to life.

The key lies in 3-D printing, which is reportedly both a cost-effective and easy way to replace and restore the details that are key to historic urban architecture.

3-D Printing the Past

EDG was inspired by the pending demolition of a Fifth Avenue structure; the structure was being torn down because the cost of restoration was too steep, among other reasons. In a recent interview, EDG noted that facade ornamentation in the classical style remains incredibly difficult to reproduce through contemporary means, with laser cutting remaining prohibitively expensive and precast concrete somewhat limiting.

As a result, “architects and developers turn increasingly to the restoration of existing treasures, which are in limited and often neglected supply.” According to the firm, modern restoration needed to be both cost-effective and durable.

The solution lies in modern ornamental, a new form of architectural digital sculpture created by EDG.

In developing modern ornamental, the firm selected certain materials and methods to make plastic molds; these would be used to produce copies of architectural ornamentation. When on site, these ornaments can reportedly be produced in as little as a day. Paired with a stored digital catalog of parts, reprinting a mold is simple.

“Should an element ever need repair or replacement, [they] could simply be removed from the building, and a new one could be reprinted and recast on-site, the same day,” EDG noted.



Tagged categories: 3D printing; Architecture; Color + Design; Color + Design; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; North America

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