Once 3-D printing moved out of the laboratory and into mainstream culture, awe turned into opportunity. The success of altruistic and once-impossible applications like fully-functioning 3-D printed organs and prosthetic limbs meant we could also dabble in decorative pursuits—like jewelry and iPhone cases.
In 2016, 3-D printing specialist Branch Technology hosted the Freeform Home Design Challenge and called for submissions that pursued the idea of a well-crafted habitat the leveraged 3-D printing technology. Award-winning Chicago-based architectural firm WATG’s Urban Architecture Studio won the competition with Curve Appeal, their sinuous swooping vision of residence that has dynamic curves, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a strong connection to the outdoors. For WATG, the competition had a compelling upside, given that the methods and materials for building structures have remained relatively constant.