Amsterdam is known for its calm canals and winding alleyways, its rich cultural history, and its affinity for all kinds of pleasure. Historical landmarks still charm tourists and residents alike between the city’s canals, while contemporary and sustainable architecture put the burgeoning Amsterdam-Noord borough back on the map. Linking Amsterdam’s past with its future, designers and engineers at MX3D and Joris Laarman Lab developed the world’s first 3D printed bridge over one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals in De Wallen, the city’s red-light district.
MX3D and Joris Laarman Lab collaborated with global engineering firm Arup along with a host of designers and 3D-print teams to develop the robot-welded bridge. Welding traditional steelwork with computational design, the stainless steel bridge symbolizes a linking of Amsterdam’s past with its future. Stretching just over twelve meters in length, MX3D equipped simple, technical robots with purpose-built tools that were controlled by integrated software that the team of designers developed over the span of two years.
Arup, the project’s lead structural engineer, practiced advanced parametric design modeling to streamline the bridge’s preliminary design process. Describing the developmental stages and inspiration behind building the bridge, MX3D notes, “The unique approach allows us to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal. The goal of the MX3D Bridge project is to showcase the potential applications of our multi-axis 3D printing technology.”
Currently open to the public, the bridge was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Ushering in a strengthened bond between the possibilities of modern technology and a reverence for the city’s architectural integrity, the new bridge in Amsterdam’s red-light district stands as a link between the past and the future.
Using advanced parametric design modeling to streamline the bridge’s initial design process, engineers programmed software to control the 3D printer’s construction and direction.
Amsterdam’s 3D printed bridge merges classical architecture with modern technology.
Constructed offsite, the bridge was transported on a boat to its final destination.
Weaving through Amsterdam’s canals, the bridge was ultimately brought to its final destination in the red-light district.
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands unveiled the project’s debut in ode to Amsterdam’s rich cultural history.