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Ai Build, 3DVinci, BESIX 3D collaborate on Deciduous 3D printed pavilion by MEAN

Grasshopper designed project explores human relationship with nature

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Ai Build, a company that the readers of this website should know well, collaborated with a team of other creative firms in the UAE 3D printing scene, to create the Deciduous 3D printed pavilion, a digitally and additively manufactured structure that invites us to revisit our relationship with nature, through an experience reminiscent of walking through an abstracted botanical form.

The term “deciduous” refers to trees that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn. Celebrating this year’s Art Nights event at DIFC with the theme “Autumn”, the Deciduous pavilion was designed using Rhino and Grasshopper and built for DIFC by MEAN* Middle East Architecture Network. It is also the first robotically manufactured, large scale pavilion in the region, 3D printed from 30,000 recycled water bottles.

Deciduous 3D printed pavilion


In light of Dubai’s focus on 3D printing as a sustainable technology, the hybridization of state-of-the-art Robotic 3D printing in plastic and concrete is a first attempt to explore the possibilities that the two technologies can offer, contributing to the emirate’s vision of ecological construction growth towards 2025.

Deciduous is composed of a hybrid of three different sustainable materials: CNC-milled birch plywood flooring, robotically 3D printed concrete Base, and a series of branching 3D printed PETG stems, the plastic polymer upcycled from 30,000 discarded water bottles.

Ai Build took care of the polymer 3D printing while concrete 3D printing was carried out by BESIX 3D, with local 3D printing service 3DVinci Creations acting as the 3D printing contractor. Lesly Lobo took care of the plywood CNC fabrication.

Computational modeling was used to conceive and quantify the design to a level of detailing optimal within the parameters and constraints of large-format robotic 3D printing. Deciduous is completely prefabricated off-site. The parts can be mechanically joined on a clean site with no need for heavy machinery.


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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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