Digital Grotesque . Printing Architecture

Digital Grotesque . Printing Architecture

Michael Hansmeyer, Benjamin Dillenburger
Digital Grotesque is the first fully immersive, solid, human-scale, enclosed structure that is entirely 3D printed out of sand. This structure, measuring 16 square meters, is materialized with details at the threshold of human perception. Every aspect of this architecture is composed by custom-designed algorithms.

Research for the Digital Grotesque project was carried out at the Chair for CAAD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. All components were printed by voxeljet AG. The first part of Digital Grotesque is a commission by FRAC Centre for its permanent collection.

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Digital Grotesque in Figures:


• Algorithmically generated geometry

• 260 million surfaces

• 30 billion voxels

• 78 GB production data


• Sand-printed elements (silicate and binder)

• 16 square meters, 3.2 meters high

• 11 tons of printed sandstone

• 0.13 mm layer resolution

• 4.0 x 2.0 x 1.0 meter maximum print space


• Design development: 1 year

• Fabrication (printing): 1 month

• Assembly: 1 day


Partners and Sponsors

• Chair for CAAD, Prof. Hovestadt, ETH Zurich

• Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

• voxeljet AG

• FRAC Centre

• Strobel Quarzsand GmbH • Pro Helvetia



Fabrication: Maria Smigielska, Yuko Ishizu, Tihomir Janjusevic, Evi Xexaki, Miro Eichelberger, Jeanne Wellinger, Nicolás Miranda Turu, Akihiko Tanigaito

Video & Photo: Demetris Shammas, Achilleas Xydis


installation4 installation3




A Youtube version of the above video is here: