World's first 3D printed bridge unveiled

A new world's first for construction has been claimed by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) – the first bridge to be designed and built via 3D printing technology. The 12m bridge, which spans a waterway in the urban park of Castilla La Mancha in Madrid, was 'printed' in successive layers of micro-reinforced concrete from 3D printing computer software.

The bridge was installed in situ late last year and has now been demonstrated with a group of volunteers from IAAC. Madrid's Castilla La Mancha bridge has narrowly beaten a rival bridge project in Amsterdam vieing to claim a world's first in 3D printing, also designed by IAAC, but with in-situ 3D printing of steel instead of concrete. The Amsterdam structure is expected to be finished later this year.

Construction of bridges and other structures using 3D printing is being heralded for its capability of producing complex parametric shapes with virtually no material wasted.