Exploring Additive Manufacturing

How can 3D printing change the built environment?


The Spring 2015 studio focused on additive manufacturing in high-performance building enclosures. The semester began with a visit to Clayton Homes’ manufacturing facility in Andersonville, Tennessee, where students learned about existing prefabrication methods in the housing industry, and with a tour of ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. Students then worked in four groups with ORNL R&D staff to develop building concepts that leverage emerging additive manufacturing capabilities.


James Richard Rose

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer, Director of Institute for Smart Structures, College of Architecture + Design
University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Lucas Tryggestad, AIA, LEED AP

Deputy Governor's Chair, Director
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Students worked with ORNL R&D staff to develop building concepts that leverage emerging additive manufacturing capabilities.

Student Project: ExoPod (Buchanan, Keller, Kirk)

Inspired by the translucency, spiraling geometry and accretion-based construction of the sea shell, team ExoPod reinterpreted these features in the design of their pavilion. The enclosure is composed of stacked ring segments 3D printed in transparent resin with vacuum cells for high insulation and light transmission.

Student Project: Naturally Additive (Park, Sells, Hare)

Inspired by its strength, light weight, and organic form, team Naturally Additive based its investigation on the cellular structure of bone. The form was generated using an optimized grouping of cylindrical ‘cells’ intersected by spherical voids. Due to the integral structural capacity of the resulting arcs and vaults this pavilion can be 3D printed as one complete volume.

Student Project: Dragonfly (Moore, Wojcik, Drelich)

Inspired by the structural optimization, geometry, and iridescence of the dragonfly wing, this team reinterpreted these features in the design of their pavilion. Utilizing the underlying mathematic principle of the wing’s geometry, the Voronoi Tessellation, team Dragonfly was able to develop a lightweight trussed enclosure. The enclosure is 3D printed in ring segments and incorporates structure, insulation, lighting, solar cells and furniture elements.

Student Project: Expanding Origami (Summers, Gillogly, Porter)

Inspired by its strength, thinness, and flexibility of folded paper, team Origami applied these concepts to the development of their pavilion. Based on initial investigations with paper models, the team used advanced software to optimize the form of the fixed enclosure for solar power. The ends of the pavilion were 3D printed with integral hinges, allowing for multiple shading options and ease of transportation.

How might 3D printing and large scale additive manufacturing change the way we design and construct buildings? How might the power systems of home and automobile be integrated to achieve net zero? How can new technologies be harnessed to create more energy efficient building enclosures?

Related Projects and Research:


AMIE 2.0: Urban Living In a Future Knoxville

Algorithmic Design for 3D Printing at Building Scale

3D Printed Wall

Students Contributors:

Adam Buchanan, Nicole Drelich, Becca Gillogly, Justin Hare, Ethan Keller, Khris Kirk, Haley Moore, Changbum Park, Jessica Porter, Denver Sells, Allison Summers, Kim Wojcik