Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

3D-printed structure made of sand unveiled in Saudi Arabia

Fusing sand and furan resin, architects were able to develop a durable large-scale structure used as street furniture

Sandwaves by Precht and Mamou-Mani architects in Diryah, Saudi Arabia.
Sandwaves by Precht and Mamou-Mani architects in Diryah, Saudi Arabia.

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia has sand, and lots of it. So, when architects Chris Precht and Arthur Mamou-Mani were looking to develop a sustainable piece of design for the kingdom, they inevitably turned to one of its most abundant raw materials. The result is Sandwaves, a large-scale ribbon-like structure that can be used as street furniture.

Fusing sand and furan resin, the architects used 3D printing technology to produce 58 elements that were then joined to create a continuous undulating form. The curving design suggests the feel of alleyways, while the perforated elements borrow from palm trees.

Sandwaves by Precht and Mamou-Mani architects in Diryah, Saudi Arabia.
Sandwaves by Precht and Mamou-Mani architects in Diryah, Saudi Arabia.

Mamou-Mani's eponymous office in London is known for its use of digital tools in "fabricated architecture" projects, and it has produced similar designs in the past. Precht co-founded his studio in Austria, developing modular houses and buildings that provide solutions for ecological needs such as urban farming.

Both architecture offices worked with UK-engineering firm Format to determine the best shape and thickness of each element in order to construct a durable and functional pavilion. Each piece weighs approximately 160 kilograms.

"We both believe in the cradle-to-cradle approach to design, using materials that can go back to their natural state, leaving no trace," Mamou-Mani said in an interview with Dezeen.

Looking to build with a more ecological approach in mind, the architects and their firms emphasised the use of local materials in construction. In addition, 3D printing is a known cost-effective technology that is being increasingly used in making structures.

Updated: January 21, 2020 02:44 PM

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