SlotLab – Thom Schreuder
Due to 3D-printing the interest in detail and ornamentation has returned
Architect Thom Schreuder designed 3D-printed ‘prosthetics’ for the fireplaces of the South Limburg ruin Schaesberg. The rich ornamentation of the twelve fireplaces used to determine the identity of each individual room in the 16th-century castle. Commissioned by SlotLab, he met the challenge to create a contemporary redesign that refers to the original fireplaces.
Schreuder scanned natural stone debris in 3D to be able to design digital fittings for them. The prosthesis matches exactly with the existing construction material, without the use of glue or cement, “as if they were the glass slippers of Cinderella.”
To be able to use 3D-printing in Dutch architecture, plastic material is often deployed as a print material, which according to Schreuder has a ‘low emotional value’. Besides, it is almost impossible to print complete plastic support structures. But now that other materials are coming up, there will soon be no obstacle anymore to print entire buildings.
For his design, Schreuder sought the collaboration with the Kunrader quarry in South Limburg. This strengthens the link with the local business community and reduces the environmental impact of the transport of materials. He designed the prosthesis in an open structure “because of the limited use of materials and the ornamental language that emerges from the technique. My design loosely relates to the past, it’s anything but an exact copy.”
The first print of almost half a meter high is ready, a full fireplace of 2 x 2 meters is the next goal. Schreuder sees his method as a new kind of digital craftsmanship in which he makes a contemporary connection with the past: “Thanks to 3D-printing, attention can once again be focused on detail and ornamentation. The nice thing is that you can move away from standardization and put much more uniqueness into each design.”
This is the fifth article in a series of six articles on the SlotLab, an initiative of Simone de Waart (Material Sense), Aryan Klein (Slot Schaesberg) and Machiel Spaan (M3H architects) in the context of the Internationale Bau Ausstellung (IBA) Parkstad.