Urban Reef is using 3D Printing to create Bio-Inclusive Cities

Urban Reef is a startup that researches, develops and designs situations and interactions for a more-than-human urban environment. The mission: terraforming world’s metropoles.

“Cities should be home to all forms of life, not just humans.”

Following this principle, Urban Reef is developing “Reefs” which are designed to be open to a wide range of forms of life. These prototypes are created using algorithms and are 3D printed with “living” materials using Delta WASP 40100 Clay and the Continuous Feeding System. They can absorb water and provide a range of microclimates and nutrients, giving more organisms the opportunity to thrive in the city.

3D Printing 'living' Bio-based materials with Urban Reef
Video by Urban Reef
Urban Reef detail of 3D Printing with Bio-material
Photos by Urban Reef

3D Printed “Reefs” to Enhance Biodiversity in Cities

Reefs are intricate designs that can retain water through porosity, and offer a range of microclimates that complement urban settings and extreme climates. In this way they provide microrefugia for urban species, increasing biodiversity.

The 3D printer Delta WASP 40100 Clay is utilized to process complex geometrical designs with porous materials such as ceramics and composites (including mycelium, river dredge, sea shells and clay). The moisture in the air is able to pass through and cultivate the ideal environment for fungi to grow, thus giving life to structure.

The Continuous Feeding System allows the printing of larger pieces thanks to the significant increase of the machine’s capacity combined with the automatic material outgassing system.

Rain Reef is 3D printed with a porous material (manufactured from a mixture of seeds, coffee grounds and mycelium), which is saturated with collected rainwater, rendering it accessible to vegetation being grown outside.

Pierre Oskam and Max Latour founders of Urban Reef
Pierre Oskam and Max Latour, founders of Urban Reef, with a series of Reef designs.
Urban Reef Rain Reef new design
Rain Reef new design strategy, printed with Delta WASP 40100 Clay
Urban reef greenhouse
Urban Reef’s Greenhouse and growth details
Delta WASP 40100 Clay and the Continuous Feeding System
Urban Reef closeup of local dredge 3D printing
Urban Reef‘s latest experiments with local dredge

Professional LDM 3D Printing

Urban Reef is using Delta WASP 40100 Clay combined with the Continuous Feeding System to develop their prototypes. With Delta WASP 40100 Clay It’s possible to print directly on the floor or on a printing surface removable steel. You can also continue printing without waiting for the piece to dry and simply by moving the printer.

Delta WASP 40100 Clay