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A Barcelona-based research and education centre has designed the world’s first 3D-printed bridge for a Spanish park.

Created by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), the bridge located in the park of Castilla-La Mancha is 13 metres long and is made up of eight parts. Each part comprises layers of fused concrete powder micro-reinforced with thermoplastic polypropylene.

The institute worked with a number of architects, mechanical and structural engineers, and municipal representatives to bring the design to life.

Enrico Dini, known as the “man who prints houses”, played a key part in the formation of the bridge. Dini developed D-Shape, a large 3D printer which is considered to be the only printer of its kind that can bind sand into layer after layer of solid rock.

The designers also acknowledge nature for the project’s success. The IAAC leveraged parametric modelling to not only reflect the “complexities of nature’s forms” but also to optimise the distribution of raw materials.

“The computational design… allows to maximise the structural performance, being able to dispose the material only where it is needed, with total freedom of forms, maintaining the porosity thanks to the application of generative algorithms and challenging the traditional techniques of construction,” says the institute.