Concrete Facade Made with 3D Printed Tooling Now Complete

The One South First building in Brooklyn features a concrete facade fully covering its 45 stories. 3D printed tooling played a key part. 
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One South First building with concrete windows

The concrete facade covering One South First pays tribute to the site’s manufacturing heritage, but relied on current manufacturing technology in advanced composites and 3D printing. 

The One South First building in Brooklyn, New York, is part of a sleek redevelopment project called Domino Park. The 11-acre campus is named in honor of the Domino Sugar Refinery which still stands at its center. But rather than sugar manufacturing, this campus now holds residential apartments and offices inside of both renovated and newly constructed buildings. 

One South First is one of the newcomers. This 45-story building was designed by architectural firm Cookfox and pays tribute to its Domino Sugar heritage with a concrete facade reminiscent of sugar crystals. But creating this architectural touch required a combination of advanced composites and 3D printing to manufacture durable molds to pour the precast concrete windows.

We previously covered this application in 2018, as Gate Precast in Winchester, Kentucky, was in production pouring the concrete windows using forms 3D printed by Additive Engineering Solutions (AES) in Ohio, Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, and Thermwood in Indiana.

concrete window frames made with 3D printed tooling

When Additive Manufacturing visited Gate Precast in 2018, the company was in the midst of production for these concrete window frames. 

37 of the 80 molds needed for the project were 3D printed using plastic composite filled with chopped carbon fiber. This durable material choice allowed the 3D printed concrete molds to be reused many more times than their wood fabricated counterparts. By AES’s account, each of the 3D printed molds could support at least 200 concrete pours, while a conventional wood mold is typically removed from service after 15 to 20 uses.

After several years of work that included 3D printing the tooling, pouring the concrete, and fabricating, shipping and installing the windows, One South First is now complete. As of September 2019, its apartments are open to tenants. 

Jeff Sloan, editor-in-chief of CompositesWorld (a sister publication to Additive Manufacturing), has written a new piece about the use of composite 3D printed tooling for manufacturing these windows. Find that story here