ArchitectureConcreteConstruction 3D Printing

Holcim unveils 3D printed Phoenix bridge

Created in collaboration with Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group, and incremental3D, the bridge has a 40% lower CO2 footprint than its predecessor, Striatus

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Holcim, a 3D concrete printing company, has recently completed the ‘Phoenix’ bridge – building on the success of Striatus, an award-winning 3D concrete printed bridge presented at the 2021 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The company’s collaboration with renowned partners such as Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group, and incremental3D has been pivotal in exploring scalable sustainable infrastructure solutions through Phoenix.

The bridge is constructed with 10 tons of recycled materials, including recycled aggregates from Striatus’s original blocks. Holcim developed a proprietary concrete ink for Phoenix, optimizing its formulation to achieve a 40% lower CO2 footprint than its predecessor. This innovation results in a 25% reduction in the structure’s overall carbon footprint.

Holcim unveils 3D concrete printed Phoenix bridge created in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects, and incremental3D.

Utilizing Holcim’s proprietary ECOCycle circular technology, the company developed a custom concrete ink for the Phoenix bridge. This ink integrates recycled construction demolition materials with 100% recycled ECOPlanet cement. The circular construction approach, coupled with computational design and 3D printing, allows for up to a 50% reduction in material usage without compromising performance. Phoenix’s design, which stands through compression without reinforcement, allows for easy disassembly and recycling of its blocks.

Holcim unveils 3D concrete printed Phoenix bridge created in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects, and incremental3D.

“I am thrilled to unveil Phoenix, a monument to sustainability and the result of a fruitful collaboration with our partners to meet a common goal: demonstrating that circular and low-carbon infrastructure is possible today. This project showcases the impact that innovation can have in Holcim’s mission to decarbonize building for a net-zero future,” said Edelio Bermejo, Head of Global R&D at Holcim.

In addition to core collaborators, Phoenix’s creation involved contributions from AMODIS design and control, DEKRA testing, inspection, and certification, Groupe Noel for metal manufacturing, and Bürgin Creations for assembly.

“Phoenix is a significant milestone in technology readiness. It showcases the maturation of integrated design to construction technologies that were initiated with Striatus. There have been improvements in the robustness of the digital design tools, closer alignment with the numerous structural design and circularity-related improvements, tighter integration with robotic concrete printing parameters, and extensive calibration to improve efficiency of production of almost double the number of blocks in less printing time,” said Shajay Bhooshan, Head of the Computation and Design Group at Zaha Hadid Architects.

“Thanks to its design principles, Striatus (Venice, 2021) already represented 3D concrete printing in its purest possible form. Now, after two years and in its second iteration, Phoenix adds a largely reduced carbon footprint and permanence according to building codes along with many other further improvements. Consequently, we, the incremental3d team, are very excited about Phoenix and we are looking forward to many other projects that will evolve in similar spirit,” said Johannes Megens, Co-founder of incremental3D.

Holcim unveils 3D concrete printed Phoenix bridge created in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects, and incremental3D.

“Concrete is an artificial stone, and like stone, it does not want to be a straight beam, it wants to be a masonry arch. Following these historical principles allows us to keep materials separated for easy recycling and to dry-assemble the structure for easy deconstruction and reuse. 3D concrete printing allows us to realize synthetic voussoirs, placing material only and exactly where needed. The result is a sustainable and truly circular approach to concrete construction,” explained Philippe Block, Co-Director of the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich.

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