SPINS | Structurally Printed Insulating Nodes System

Most building façades require metal parts to hold structural loads on the outside, so they transfer too much summer heat or winter loss, known as problematic “thermal bridging”. We aim to use innovative highly insulating structural 3D printed parts instead, with much-reduced CO2 footprint! High-strength integrated Carbon/Kevlar/Glass fibers give free-form pieces provide high-durability and long-term strength. The parts are directly designed via BIM modeling & Digital Fabrication approach.

We want to reduce energy loss due to building facades caused by thermal bridges, usually made of metals with high thermal conductivity (50 W/mK for steel and 250 W/mK for aluminum). Metal details with high-strength capacity are currently used to transfer forces from outside to inside, also metals can be machined to fit complex façade geometries, but this construction method must be improved.

Conventional plastics have much lower, beneficial thermal conductivity  (<1 W/mK), however such materials were not strong & durable enough over time to carry building elements such as balconies, shading, rain-screen and other load (wind & snow) in the past.

Recently, 3D structural printing has become market-ready, where the printer is BIM-fed any 3D geometry file that now also is reinforced with strong durable fibers (carbon/glass/kevlar fibers). We own such printers in Berlin and New York and have started to perform promising systematic load tests at HTW Berlin already. We want to 3D-print thermal bridging façade parts!



Biomimicry – Adaptive Dome Grid-Shell Structure

Phyllotaxis – the formally growth pattern of leaves – will follow a spiralling pattern in certain specimen. Our research is focused on studying and producing dome structures that follow the logic of these geometric governing rules. Efficiency governs a plant’s form: leaves are laid out to maximize photosynthesis: they steadily grow in a Fermat’s spiral with Fibonacci numbering. Guided by these principles, we are primarily focused on producing dome structures in urban environments that use these growth patterns to mediate and adapt between buildings to create new environments. We address issues of construction logistics for packaging and fabrication, performing material research in metal, wood, or polycarbonate ribs to support line weight EFTE cushions to make a membrane that brings light into these spaces.