Rock Print: Chicago Architectural Biennial 2015

Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, and the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT install Rock Print, a 3D printed rock installation.

Event Details


Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington St, Chicago, Illinois 60602 United States



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Using innovative robotic technology, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland) and the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT install a 3D printed rock installation at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

A specifically designed algorithm guided a robotic arm in a three-dimensional “rock printing” process. With the precision only a robot can provide, it positioned a textile filament layer-by-layer around which loose granular material formed a distinctive shape. The self-aggregating capacity of this digitally crafted design configuration results in a large-scale architectural artifact that requires no additional support elements.

Going far beyond the manual assembly techniques of dry masonry, this endeavor presents a unique combination of state-of-the-art digital design and fabrication technology with building material science. It introduces a sustainable, economical, and structurally sound construction method that fundamentally challenges conventional architecture.


Photo: Myleen Hollero