Photo credit: Multi-material printing, Sekisai Office print + 3DPA workshop, IAAC 2019

Rapid prototyping and advanced manufacturing are fundamental technologies that enable an integrative conception and production of fabrication-informed material design processes. Multi-material 3D printing techniques are being developed to produce structures with new mixed materials with completely novel properties. This will challenge prefabrication as machine learning algorithms will also become more critical in the design process. 3D printing multi-materials in gradients achieve more optimal behaviours than traditional materials in the construction industry.

In the conventional colouring method, shape and color are designed separately, by first “creating shape” then “adding color”. This workshop will focus on exploring geometries through a multi-material printing method in which materials with different color pigmentation are adjusted at the same time, seamlessly integrating two processes of “creating shape” and “applying color”, thus making it possible to create more subtle and complex color expressions.

Building in this context, this workshop is the occasion to look at the question of materiality in architecture. Additive manufacturing of multi-material opens the possibility of carefully designing the material distribution over geometries, taking advantage of the wide palette of materials available to build architecture. The relation between form and material distribution has structural, thermal and aesthetic implications yet to be explored.

Following the method and workflow, students will also learn about material preparation and cartridge extruder refill to carry out the 3D printing system, hence learning how to implement design processes in robots.

Learning Objectives

The objective of the workshop is to prototype, fabricate and explore new possibilities in material through robotic additive manufacturing. With an overview of the state of the art in the syntax of additive manufacturing geometries and its influence on material capabilities. Discuss the practical implementation of custom end effectors, and brainstorm to later produce the most performative model with this technology.  At course completion the student will learn:

  • Have an overview of the possible robotic additive manufacturing processes available for architects and designers.
  • Understand the basics of robotic kinematics, robotic simulation and robotic control.
  • Communication between ABB arm robot and custom end effector
  • How to calibrate/adjust end-effector tools and possible modifications of them
  • Be capable of generating the robotic simulation and production files to produce a prototype. 
  • Be capable of integrating the limitations and opportunities of a specific robotics process into a final architecture design
  • To think independently about novel robotic workflow concepts and implement them in small groups.


Multi-­‐material 3d printing, Robotic additive manufacturing, Material design


Faculty Assistants

Projects from this course

Visualising Genres: Investigating the Combination of Acoustics and Art in Multi-Material 3D Printed Walls

Brief Our curiosity brought us to an intriguing investigation at the nexus of technology, craftsmanship, and acoustics in the quest to elevate spatial design. This blog shares the story of our journey, where we used a cutting-edge multi-material 3D printing technique to produce personalized sound-diffusing walls—a first for the industry. Our concept began with a … Read more


The emergence of additive manufacturing has expanded the horizon for developing designs that are not only more environmentally sustainable but also commercially viable, addressing critical issues in our surroundings. In the field of architecture, multi-material 3D printing opens up a compelling opportunity to imbue intelligence into the surfaces of our built environment by thoughtfully selecting … Read more


State of the Art In the quest for sustainable and energy-efficient cooling solutions, the TerraCool project endeavors to harness the natural properties of clay through the innovative application of multi-material 3D printing technology. This research project aims to develop an advanced evaporative cooling system utilizing seashell ceramic. “TerraCool” is not only a testament to the … Read more


State Of The Art Utilization of robotics within the additive manufacturing world is becoming more and more standardized as the needs of people and the environment are changing. The construction industry itself has to produce more efficient structures with very little to no waste, and the capabilities of robots to do this are very apparent. … Read more


Additive manufacturing has opened up a vast array of possibilities to the creation of more sustainable but also salable designs that can address critical issues in our environment. In the context of architecture, multi-material 3D printing opens the door for an opportunity to embed intelligence into the surfaces in our built environment through material selection … Read more