Generative Design Lab

3D printing for the building industry

In the Generative Design Lab, we research generative and additive manufacturing technologies for use in construction. Our focus is on process and product development. Research areas include 3D printing of glass, steel, ceramics and paper. Research results include customized nodes for facade systems, free-form bricks for functionalized masonry, 3D paper structures for use as acoustic absorbers, and complex but fully transparent glass structures.

Circular economy through printed paper

Transparency through printed glass

Complexity through printed bricks

Load capacity due to steel printing

Freedom of shape with printed polymers

Dr.-Ing. Philipp Rosendahl,
Junior Research Group Leader Additive Manufacturing

3D printing and the construction industry: a technology and an industry made for each other. Compared to subtractive or formative manufacturing processes, additive manufacturing requires low investments that are affordable by the medium-sized construction industry. The industry's products are unique, different for each building, and often complex.

AM Ceramics describes the research of using clay as 3D printing material. Main topic is the development of the at ISM+D designed and built 3D clay-printing technology, based on an industrial Robot. This printer is used to examine potential applications for designing and constructing 3D printed bricks. Upcoming projects are the development of 3D printing techniques for restauration and conservation of old brick buildings and their facades. Moreover, the development of 3D printed pillars or supports with an interlock system are explored.

Brick printing with the help of industrial robots
Brick printing with the help of industrial robots

Currently, investigations proceeding to ensure the quality of additively manufactured paper structures concerning the mix design and its rheology, the production process, and especially the shrinkage outcomes, that will have a big impact on performance and efficiency 3D paper printing production in consideration of the printability, generating self-supported built structure and optimizing the production. The mechanical and acoustic behavior for 3D paper printed structural members will be also investigated, this way will be utilizing 3D paper printed objects according to its acoustic properties and benefits the most from the technology since mostly the acoustic properties rely on the geometry, to build an innovated design and functionalized it for sound-absorber, like hanged baffles from the ceiling.

Printing of three-dimensional paper structures by extrusion of a cellulose-binder mixture
Printing of three-dimensional paper structures by extrusion of a cellulose-binder mixture

Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) is an additive process which utilizes standard welding equipment in combination with an automated control system. This allows for weld material to be built up into three-dimensional objects in metals. While the resolution of WAAM is lower than other metal printing methods, the major benefits come from the potential to print large-scale structures at a relatively fast production speed. Research on WAAM at the ISM+D focuses on its potential use in the built environment. Current research topics include the use of WAAM to reinforce free-form thin sheet metal façade elements, the fabrication of functionally-graded lattice structures, as well as steel-printed façade connections.

Local bracing of thin freeform sheets
Local bracing of thin freeform sheets

Glass is a unique and indispensable material in the built industry, unparalleled in it’s combination of strength, transparency and durability. With AM Glass, we explore the possibility of printing complex glass geometries on and perpendicular to a glass base plate. The current aim of AM Glass is to design, manufacture, analyse and optimise possible geometries in an iterative process. By doing so, the freedom of form that is provided with this technology not only offers the potential integration of load transfer capability through a additively manufactured joint, but also individual reinforcement of glass plates can be achieved via stress oriented stiffening and improvements can be imagined regarding insulated glazing units.

Printed glass base as a pure material connecting element printed by Laserzentrum Hannover (LZH)
Printed glass base as a pure material connecting element printed by Laserzentrum Hannover (LZH)

With our plastic 3D printers it is possible to create the first prototypes and mock-ups for research projects to check their geometries on a smaller scale. In addition, our laboratory produces special components for experimental setups, which can be perfectly adapted to the respective experiments. Also in teaching, with the help of multi-coloured illustrative models, constructive relationships can be shown in all three dimensions. The printing is carried out in FDM and SLA processes and offers a wide range of different plastics, which can be selected depending on their intended use.

Street furniture printed from recycled plastic
Street furniture printed from recycled plastic


  Name Contact
Dr.-Ing. Philipp Rosendahl
+49 6151 16-23039
L5|06 628


  Name Contact
Philipp Amir Chhadeh M.Sc.
+49 6151 16- 23019
L5|06 632
Christin Gandyra M.Sc.
+49 6151 16-23019
L506 632
Marvin Kehl M.Sc.
+49 6151 16-23038
L5|06 414
Inés Burdiles M.Sc.
+49 6151 16-23019
L506 632
Kerstin Thiele M.Eng.
+49 6151 16-23014
L506 659
Alexander Wolf M.A. Architekt
+49 6151 16-23012
Juan Ojeda M.Sc.
+49 6151 16-21387
L506 414