World’s first 3D printed bridge completed

12 February 2017 | By Tom Ravenscroft

The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has created the world’s first 3D printed bridge, as the technology moves closer to the mainstream.

According to the institute this is the first time 3D printing technology has been applied in the field of civil engineering.

Built in the urban park of Castilla-La Mancha in Alcobendas, Madrid, the bridge is 12 metres long, 1.75 metres wide, and printed in micro-reinforced concrete.

As the bridge is in a public space, and open to the public to use, it had to meet all the appropriate building and safety legislation.

The form of the 3D printed bridge was developed through parametric design, which allowed the architects to optimise the distribution of materials.

The structural performance was maximised as the design places material only where it is needed, with total freedom of forms, maintaining the porosity due to the application of generative algorithms and challenging the traditional techniques of construction.

Building of the bridge was led by construction company Acciona. The scheme was developed by a multidisciplinary team of architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers and representatives of the municipal administration, among them Enrico Dini, an expert inventor of large-scale 3D manufacturing and IAAC collaborator.