Emerging Objects, a California based architecture company, created a 3D printed structure that is supposed to withstand earthquakes.
The pillar called Quake Column is built out of blocks that were 3D printed using cement. These bricks interlock perfectly with one another and are numbered in order to their place within the construction. The method used draws from traditional Incan ashlar technique, where cyclopean blocks were interlocked without using mortar in-between. This allowed for the stones to move during earthquakes and then resettle without walls collapsing. Whereas the blocks used by the Incas could weigh up to several tons, the 3D printed ones are lightweight and hollow.
While the Quake Column was an experiment in connectivity, Emerging Objects is also working on different materials for 3D printed constructions that are much stronger than reinforced concrete. They have already patented Cement Polymer, a strong and rigid material that can be fiber reinforced for 3D printing.