The redevelopment of the Monroe Street parking garage in Huntsville, AL (USA) required the use of construction 3D printing. Huntsville which is described as an engineering and technology town, wanted this facade to be “attractive and dynamic,” because it is central in the redevelopment of the Big Spring Park area, home to new hotels, entertainment venues, and bars and restaurants.
“The idea that Huntsville could take a lead in 3D printing technology on an important downtown structure was pretty powerful to us as the architects. We thought it was appropriate to use Branch Technology panels. The technology is representative of the city and its trajectory”, said Les Tillery, principal at Fuqua & Partners Architects.
The facade is made from exterior panels that take their shape from an innovative 3D-printed open lattice material called BranchMatrix™. This 3D-printed material can be made into virtually any shape or form. To create these facades for the parking garage, Branch filled the 3D-printed, lightweight polymer shapes with two-pound-density insulating foam, robotically milled them back to the geometric surface, and then finished them with glass fiber reinforced concrete. The result is a lightweight, energy-efficient, and durable building facade. The parking deck facade features the largest panels Branch Technology has ever produced, totaling approximately 12,000 square feet, a press release reports.
Interestingly, the more construction 3D printing advances, the more companies are showing their expertise in the field. This project especially, sheds light on Branch Technology’s expertise and technology, a construction-tech company that combines industrial robotics, powerful geometry-based algorithms, and a novel “Freeform” extrusion system that enables unprecedented design freedom and resource efficiency in the construction arena.
The company explains that in large construction-scale projects, shapes are produced directly from digital files rather than being interpreted from shop drawings. The process, faster than typical fabrication methods, delivers extreme accurate results.
Monroe Street parking garage is on prime real estate across the street from the multi-purpose Von Braun Center. The garage provides event parking during the evening and on weekends along with weekday parking for nearby office workers. The parking deck is lit with LED lighting to create an even more dynamic effect, especially at night. This is on full display for late-night traffic coming in and out of the garage following evening events.
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