The world’s first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge opened last month, and while it may be a marvel of modern technology, it’s also hideous.
Opened on Dec. 14, 2016, at the Castilla-La Mancha park in Alcobendas, Spain, the 40-foot-long bridge is the brainchild of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. It’s built from eight separate 3D-printed parts, made using fused concrete power that has been micro-reinforced with thermoplastic polypropylene.
A team of architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers, and municipal administrators including Enrico Dini collaborated on the project. Dini is the developer of D-Shape, a large 3D printer that builds objects by binding layers of sand with inorganic seawater and a magnesium-based binder. Dini’s printer has earned him the nickname “the man who prints houses.” Now he’s the man who helped print a bridge.
Designers at the IAAC utilized parametric modeling to shape the bridge, both to show the “complexities of nature’s forms” and to help build the most efficient bridge possible with the parts.
The institute described the design in a statement:
The computational design also allows to maximize the structural performance, being able to dispose the material only where it is needed, with total freedom of forms, maintaining the porosity thanks to the application of generative algorithms and challenging the traditional techniques of construction.
The result of the process is a stronger bridge that wastes less material during construction.
You can see more images of the project below.