Algorithmic columns

columns6.jpg Computational architect Michael Hansmeyer makes incredibly elaborate columns out of cardboard and wood. Co.Design's John Pavlus writes: "Hansmeyer's column stands nine feet tall, weighs about 2000 pounds, and is made out of 2700 1mm-thin slices of cardboard stacked on top of wooden cores. It contains somewhere between 8 and 16 million polygonal faces -- too complex for even a 3D printer to handle, according to Hansmeyer." The World's Most Complex Architecture: Cardboard Columns With 16 Million Facets [Co.Design via Inhabitat] Columns [Michael's website]


  1. Athenian Greeks used continuous curves! That’s right, no two neighboring points had the same tangent. Try that on a 3D printer. Even Hansmeyer can’t handle an infinite polygon count.

    1. Isn’t a sphere an object with a continuous curve? So, basically, Athenians invented the ball?

      These columns look more intricate than plain balls would be, so I’ll go with these over the Athenians.

  2. These are beautiful. I only wish there was some way to translate them into stone so they’d have the endurance of normal columns. Future generations need to see these. Beats the hell out of Corinthian style.

  3. Boy, Cthulhu’s gonna be pissed when he wakes up and realizes these are missing from R’lyeh.

  4. Those are absolutely creepy. I’d be afraid to touch them due to fears that things are living in the holes and are going to bite me.

    1. That’s what I love about them!

      If you ever take take hallucigenics chances are you’ll come across this exact type of architecture and its in habitants – which is the most exhilarating experience… unless you find it creepy, in which case you’ll have quite the harrowing experience. (Have you seen ‘Enter the void’?

      I love fractal-like architecture! :D

  5. I can not find a reference anywhere to the fact that these are created on timber and cardboard, sorry.
    “A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet.”

    “The initial prototype uses 1mm grey board. Tests using ABS, wood, as well as metal are under way.”

    So they’re using 1mm grey board sheets, and they’re testing other materials – which may prove to be viable or not.

    Hence, even though the headline sounds great, it’s not accurate.
    “Artist TRYING TO make incredibly elaborate columns out of cardboard and wood.”

    1. I agree. I find it disturbing that these are discussed on several websites as real, yet no photograph exists of them in the real world just renders.

      1. There is no confusion. As I mentioned earlier: the current cut-outs are made of 1mm gray board (as shown on the photo), NOT cardboard.

        As it says on his website, ‘tests are underway’ for cardboard.

        Hence, headline should read “Computational architect Michael Hansmeyer makes incredibly elaborate columns out of 1MM GRAY SHEETS, HOPING TO DO SO ONE DAY WITH cardboard and wood”

  6. Damn, this is absolutely fascinating. I do occasionally wish that I had much of a chance of getting moderately wealthy, just to be able to have things like these.

  7. These are really so beautiful. Amazingly so. I’d really like to see them made in a way that can last.

  8. 3D printers are great, but we’re really at the point where it is amazing they are doing it at all and are not anywhere close to monuments of precision.

    Considering what the artist is actually doing, a better comparison would be against a cnc cutter, which would probably give him a run for his money than 3D printing.

  9. Considering where 3d printing is now and where it will be in a few years, I’m actually pretty excited to see what architecture will look like in the future. We got a little boring over the last 100 years since we’ve been targeting cookie-cutter homes that were easy to mass-produce, but 3d printing should make it cheaper to make more intricate designs.

    The tech already exists and just needs refinement:

  10. I wonder if these are any way castable? Such complex surfaces. I was thinking that somebody making a movie should call him.

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