NASA Centennial Challenge
PARTNER: Foster + Partners
LOCATION: Chattanooga, TN
BUILT: March-August 2017
COLLABORATORS: Techmer PM, KUKARobotics, Squared Away Films
NASA’s Centennial 3D Printed Habitat Challenge is a competition to develop construction technologies for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. The competition is a multi-phase challenge designed to advance the construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.
In 2015, Foster + Partners competed in Phase 1 of the Challenge, securing second-place for their proposal that used an array of semi-autonomous robots to 3D print habitats for eventual human occupation.
For Phase 2, Foster + Partners and Branch Technology came together to take that concept one step closer to reality. The team developed both the robotic fabrication methods and indigenous and recycled material content required to create the structural members. This phase was broken into 3 levels that focused on constructing a column, a beam and a dome structure.
With over 90 participants in the final and most difficult phase of the project, Branch Technology and Foster + Partners prevailed. This phase required on-site 3D printing, which alters from Branch Technology’s expertise in prefabrication. The phase also required strategic optimization of the structure in order to print the given structure within a 10 hour window. In the end, the structure outperformed its concrete counter-partner 3x over supporting 3,750lbs before collapsing at anticipated failure locations and securing the team with First Prize.
This project demonstrated Branch’s ability to work collaboratively and solve complex fabrication problems. Clients can trust that no matter the challenge Branch will find a solution.
Phase 2 Awards
Level 1: First Place @$250,000
Level 2: Third Place @ $63,783
Level 3: First Place @$85,930