3D printing is becoming more accessible as an approach to creating architectural models.  The cheapest printers (below £800) are helpful for experimenting with the technology and there are dedicated 3D print shops which, supplied with an .stl file, e.g. from Sketchup, can fabricate larger models.

Is this something you know has been used by landscape practices to demonstrate concepts to clients or the public? It would be good to share some case studies.

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I understand the relevance for space engineering and miniature engineering/architectural work but I have not come across any relevant 3D printing for landscape architects.

I have witnessed the 'prints' but, sadly, the results were similar to the free gifts you used to get in corn flakes packets...

Is this currently perhaps a white elephant for Landscape Architecture?

Well it would certainly be interesting to see how this develops over the coming years. I still think it is more relevant in engineering and architecture than landscape but would like to be proved wrong.

Hi Simon, Michael,

There was something recently advertised by the LI (via twitter) on 3D printing and its potential value for Landscape Architects (e.g. in creating bespoke outdoor furniture). I also heard that some one had made a real-life sized house out of 3D printing! I personally (currently) have know idea how it all works but I was interested in the potential benefit for landscape and ecological use too (eg. bird boxes). It will be interesting how it develops.

Simon Odell CMLI (LI staff) said:

Missed this before.  A 3-D miniature garden show - but not just a gimmick it seems:


I have just returned from a conference which covered 3D printing. I think this is beginning to get more exciting as a medium because the size of the printers has increased greatly in recent years. No longer limited to small models, these can now be printed out in metres rather than millimetres. The inclusion of paint in the process means that aerial photographs can be applied to landform models with a high degree of accuracy. Still quite castle - prints range from £600 upwards - this approach would be worth considering for strategic projects where a model could help inform the consultation process.


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