A new article by School of Architecture Director Blaine Brownell appears in the current issue of Technology | Architecture + Design, a peer-reviewed international journal. Brownell’s article, “Control or Affect? The Paradox of 3D‐Printed Wood,” considers the relatively new process of fabricating wood-based products – primarily wood-plastic composites (WPC) – with 3D printing technology. Beginning with a brief overview of the development within the past decade of 3D-printed wood, he then evaluates its environmental, technical, and sensory performance, summarizing research on various composites. The article concludes with speculations on the future of 3D-printed wood based on the technology’s current capacities and limitations, the deep-seated aesthetic attitudes about wood, and the prospects of 3D-printed composites becoming truly “green.”
Brownell, who joined the SoA in 2020, is an architect, educator, and researcher of emergent materials and applications. A former Fulbright scholar to Japan, he has authored eight books on advanced and sustainable materials for architecture and design. He has written the “Mind & Matter” column for Architect magazine since 2009, and his work has been published in more than 70 architecture, design, science, and news journals. In February 2020 he was named to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
Pictured above: 3D‐printed wood‐plastic composite (WPC) modules made by architecture students in Frank Jacobus’ Future of Wood studio, University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, 2019. Photo by Blaine Brownell.