Rock Print: A zero-waste 3D-printed structure made only of rock and thread

Inspired to take 3D printing technology to new heights, MIT researchers and ETH Zurich create “Rock Print” — a full-scale architectural installation on display until January 3, 2016 in the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Standing over 13 feet (4 metres) high in the Chicago Cultural Center, the monolithic Rock Print installation using its rough and elegant contours verifies that cooperation inspires “State of the Art Architecture” – the subject of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Produced from a 2012 University of Chicago seminar that brought architects, engineers, material scientists, and physicists together, Rock Print presents a principle called “jamming” that refers to aggregate granular stuff, like gravel which are quite literally crammed together in this manner which they hold their form and contour like a solid, even though their molecular properties are closer (when it comes to behavior) to a liquid substance.

“Jamming” together, research workers from Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich and Skylar Tibbits’ Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created, Rock Print – a zero waste and fully reversible architectural installation for the inauguration of the Chicago Architecture Biennial that opened on 3 October 2015.