Free-form architectural envelopes: Digital processes opportunities of industrial production at a reasonable price


  • E. Castaneda
  • B. Lauret
  • J.M. Lirola
  • G. Ovando




Free-form architecture, double curvature facade panel, digital manufacturing, no-mould processes, CNC processes


Free-form architecture is one of the major challenges for architects, engineers, and the building industry. This is due to the inherent difficulty of manufacturing double curvature facades at reasonable prices and quality. This paper discusses the possibilities of manufacturing free-form facade panels for architectural envelopes supported by recent advances in CAD/CAM systems and digital processes. These methods allow for no-mould processes, thus reducing the final price. Examples of actual constructions will be presented to prove the viability of computer numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication technologies. Scientific literature will be reviewed. Promising fabrication methods (additive, subtractive, forming) to accomplish this proposal will be discussed. This research will provide valuable information regarding the feasibility of manufacturing free-form panels for architectural envelopes at lower prices.





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