The world’s first steel bridge, 3D printed by robots, will soon span a canal in the centre of Amsterdam. This fascinating, ground-breaking project is an initiative of the Dutch start-up MX3D. The unique design is the brainchild of designer Joris Laarman. The development came about with partners including Arup, Autodesk, Heijmans, ArcelorMittal and Imperial College London. The bridge will be placed over the canal of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal (Wallen). The project marks a breakthrough for the innovative possibilities of (large-scale) 3D printing: the introduction of this technique to a public use object increases the social awareness and integration of this technology. The project symbolises the speed with which this new technology and possible applications are developing.
After years of (im)patient waiting, the MX3D Bridge not only dispels the tense anticipation surrounding digital manufacturing but does so with a utopian construction in the picturesque centre of Amsterdam! The leap in research into 3D printing opens the door, once and for all, to other (large and / or public) applications in architecture and the metal industry. The jury is curious to see how this will be emulated, and where it will lead. Laarman has set the bar high, with an extraordinary choice of material: steel, a typically (conservative) construction material, known for its extremely static properties. The form and material freedom achieved by the design hint at almost unimaginable scenarios.