Complex Architectural Elements

The Combination of 3D-printing and ultra-high performant, fiber reinforced concrete enables the production of exceptionally complex architectural elements. This showcase shows how the advantages of both technologies are combined.

Showcase (real application example)

Binder jet 3D-printing offers the potential to produce any imaginable form with no or only minimal geometrical restrictions/constraints. The used material (sand) however is structurally very weak.

Ultra-high performant, fiber reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) can resist very strong compressive and tension forces. In order to create complex architectural elements however, very complex formworks have to be built. Our idea is therefore to combine the advantages of 3D-printing and UHPC. We print a thin shell of sandstone as a stay-in-place formwork. This is then used to cast concrete and combine the two materials to new composite components. This method allows for the production of very complex parts that would not or only hardly be possible with more conventional manufacturing processes.

Digital Building Technologies DBT / ETH Zurich supported ETH Zurich, research project in realising this product.


ETH Zurich, research project


Architecture / Construction

Major benefits achieved

Cost savings
Weight reduction

Used technologies

Used materials


Field of innovation



Provider who helped realising this showcase

Digital Building Technologies DBT / ETH Zurich

investigating additive manufacturing strategies in architecture

Your contact person at Digital Building Technologies DBT / ETH Zurich

Get in contact with:

Mathias Bernhard
Research and development

Image of   Mathias Bernhard
Digital Building Technologies DBT / ETH Zurich will display this showcase at the following exhibition:

AM Expo 2016
20. and 21. September 2016, Messe Luzern, Switzerland
Halle 02 / Booth B2062