The ProtoHouse project was initially developed by Softkill Design, in the Architectural Association School‘s Design Research Lab within the ‘behavioral matter’ studio of Robert Stuart-Smith. It investigated the architectural potential of the latest Selective Laser Sintering technologies, testing the boundaries of large scale 3D printing by designing with computer algorithms that micro-organize the printed material itself. Softkill is now announcing plans for the first actually printed plastic dwelling, which would be assembled in one day.
Market-friendly, one-storey ProtoHouse 2.0 will be eight meters high and fours meters long. This pioneering experiment will be printed in sections in a factory where the fabrication of all pieces will take three weeks. The parts will be small enough to be easily transported in vans and assembled in 24 hours, on site. Extremely light, they simply click together, therefore there’s no necessity for any other material or any bolting, screwing or welding on site.
Due to the ambitions to develop highly optimized prototype, micro-material algorithms were run on sections, in order to test out their performative aspects. The tests resulted with specific density of external branching, which can diffuse light, act as a rain screen or snow collector and insulator. Unlike its precedents in 3D printed structures, which used sand or concrete, Softkill collective insisted on lightweight materials, such as bio-plastics, enabling great level of detail and allows possibility of printing all architectural elements, down to stairs, façade and furniture.
ProtoHouse 2.0 is a development of an earlier version, unveiled at the 3D Print Show in London, last October. The original organic prototype structure was of fibrous nylon, based on bone growth principles. ProtoHouse 2.0 takes the same approach and material is deposited only where needed – the aim was to use the smallest amount of material to achieve the strongest structure. Investigating the extreme amounts resulted with highly fibrous and thin lace-like structural components.