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Salt bricks, paper insulating systems, wood interiors and tyre structures: these are the building materials printed by the American “Emerging Objects”.
The home of the future? It will be made with pieces of tyres, salt and paper that will come out of a 3D printer. That’s what Emerging Objects says, a company specialized in printing three dimensions using unusual materials.
During the REAL 2015 conference, the co-founder Ronald Rael said: “And if the printable materials in 3D were durable, economical and ecological?”. Rael, together with co-founder Virginia San Fratello, is an architect who wants to revolutionize the industry with innovative techniques.
For Rael, printing plastic materials wasn’t enough. So Emerging Objects started recovering tyres, treating them with a cryogenic process and pulverizing them. This “tyre powder” is used by 3D printers that give life to get items particularly suitable for the architecture of tomorrow.
And then there is paper. This too is pulverized and transformed into insulating material with a 3D printer.
Rael is also trying to figure out how to print using wood. “In the construction industry – he explained – there are about 70 million tons per year of waste wood only in the US. 60 percent is potentially recoverable and can be used for 3D printing.”
The most bizarre ingredient is salt. A resource which is massively present on the planet, that has very little to do with architecture. However, Rael points out, salt has important properties, such as translucency. This is the reason why Emerging Objects wants to print the building blocks out of salt in 3D: it is something very similar to Lego bricks that can be assembled to create larger structures.
The perfect recipe for Emerging Objects is combining these ingredients to create light but durable structures with walls of salt, wood interiors and paper insulation. Or, maybe, using other materials such as clay to make bricks or sand for earthquake-resistant structures. An approach that breaks decisively with the categorical imperative of architecture, as we know it today: the use of concrete.