Sun and sound insulation, ventilation, insulation: The facade of a building fulfills important functions in addition to representation. Architects at the Technical University of Munich now want to make them easier, faster and more sustainable - with the help of 3D printing and structures that they have copied from water.
By Bernd Schlupeck
In the basement of the Department of Architecture of the Technical University of Munich, it is buzzing. The sounds come from a kind of round shower cubicle. They are produced by a 3D printer. Stretched on three arms, a needle moves over a curved, milky-white plastic block. From time to time, the arm stops, drops a liquid drop of plastic on the top and drives on. "Now we are in the Research Lab of the Faculty of Architecture in Munich and we are just printing another element of our large façade element, and we now have, for example, a layer height of 0.3 millimeters, ie a fairly small layer height for such a large one But this is important for our applications because we want to map the functions as accurately as possible. " Moritz Mungenast - about two meters tall, brown chin-length hair, around 40 - is visibly satisfied. What emerges here in layers, the architect has dubbed the name 'Fluid Morphology'. He wants to show how a façade - for example for libraries or museums - can be inexpensively manufactured using 3D printing.
Multifunctional facade element
From the cellar into the elevator, past showcases with building models, the office of the research fellow at the Associate Professorship of Architecture and Building Envelope goes into the office. On the windowsill is a facade element from the 3D printer - one meter by 70 inches tall. "The Fluid Morphology façade element is a multifunctional element that involves fixed sunshades, ventilation, an acoustic surface, meaning that the sound is deflected or scattered, and then there are internal air chambers that act as insulation Chamber structure is also the load-bearing structure that can absorb the wind loads. " At first glance, these functions are not visible. The element on the windowsill resembles a melting block of ice with a wavy surface. There are so-called macro-waves, which emerge as wave peaks and whose size can be adapted to the desired characteristics of the facade. On it are several medium waves.
Sun and sound insulation
Moritz Mungenast goes to another element leaning against a bookshelf. "These meso waves are actually the sunshades, which are then length and height designed to shade the façade in summer and allow the sun to penetrate in winter, while at the same time being the level where the facade gets thicker and thinner. Here, the bottom is thinner - you can see that up here - as the area where the sunscreen is, so there's more light coming in. "
On the meso waves are once again smaller, rib-like micro waves to see: the sound insulation. Through the surface appear diamond-shaped structures, the air chambers, as the architect explains. In addition, the round inlets of the ventilation ducts can be seen, which go directly through the element or are guided serpentine inside. "In warm weather, we need short channels, because we want a quick exchange of air.In the transitional period or in winter, we want longer channels to have this preheating and then you would over internal controls that the user can operate control. "
Plans for the use of residues
The elements do not consist of individual, glued layers, but are designed with the computer as a complete polycarbonate block. The pressure then takes eight to ten days. Currently Moritz Mungenast realizes a 2.80 meter high and 1.60 meter wide element of several parts. This is to be installed in the solar station on the roof of the Faculty of Architecture and tested for one year. Once there, he tells of his other plans. "So now we are in oil-based plastics, with the aim of using biological waste and making new plastics, and we already have contacts with different manufacturers, and I think it would be interesting to get on with wood, which is wood residues I believe there is still great potential in it. "