In the heart of Hoboken NJ, innovation is shaping the skyline.
MHS Architecture (formally known as Marchetto Higgins Stieve) has built a legacy in modern design over the past 40 years. In recent years, the firm had been reevaluating how to best present their models & ideas to prospective clients. Vincent Marchetto, a visionary principle within the firm, decided to try something new: introducing 3D printing into the firm’s workflow (with a little help from DDA Maker Tech). This move turned out to be a game changer; 3D printed models both resurrected a tactile element to architecture that had been all-but-lost in the modern era of CAD designs, and firmly cemented MHS Architecture at the forefront of modern design.
The Demise of Classic Architecture Modeling
Over the past years, Vincent has watched traditional architectural modeling fade into the background, precipitated by the rise of computer-aided design (CAD) & 3D modeling technology. He observes that architects increasingly rely on digital renderings, while physical models have been relegated to something of a novelty. In order to understand a building’s scale in today’s architectural landscape, one has to rely on digital tools and 3D computer visualizations. Vincent feared that this digital revolution was making it difficult to appreciate the essence and fine details of his team’s designs; elements that once stood at the center of the architectural process were now getting lost in the digital shuffle.
The pivotal moment for MHS Architecture came in 2015, when Vincent persuaded his partners to explore 3D printing. The firm bought three Ultimaker 3 printers; the results were both immediate and remarkable. Before long, the office was full of small-scale models showcasing the team’s architectural achievements. The new capability to produce physical models, integrated with CAD modeling and digital advancements of the previous decade, suggested a possibility to rekindle a more tangible connection with architectural design.
From Ultimaker to Voron: Scaling New Heights
As MHS Architecture increasingly embraced 3D printing, their novice setup became a limitation to success. The need for larger and faster prints prompted the firm to seek expertise from DDA Maker Technologies. It was a strategic move that would reshape their approach to 3D printing commercially.
MHS Architecture decided to invest in a used Voron 2.4, a robust and reliable 3D printer. DDA Maker Tech, with their proven track record in optimizing 3D printing processes, recommended specific features and design improvements tailored to the unique demands of architectural models. Not soon after their arrival at their office, the Voron quickly became the workhorse of the firm, racking up an impressive 800 hours of use within the first few weeks.
Impressed by the success of the Voron, DDA Maker Tech provided MHS Architecture with a duplicate setup, adding another printer to their arsenal. With the technical expertise of DDA Maker Tech behind them, the visionaries at MHS Architecture were able to scale the operation and refine their 3D printing capabilities to match the specific needs of the firm
The Marketing Value of 3D Printing
MHS Architecture realized a surprising advantage of 3D printing beyond its technical improvements and efficiency: marketing potential. Vincent pointed out, “3D printed models offer an indirect benefit – they are value-adding services. Handing clients a model, a ‘miniature’, emblazoned with our logo, effectively illustrates the mass, shape, and distinct features of the design.” These 3D-printed models, branded with the firm’s logo, emerged as a potent marketing tool, surpassing the best capability of digital displays. Physical model allow clients to engage with the designs through both sight and touch, creating a connection to design that digital methods can’t match. Vincent affectionately called these models ‘miniatures,’ which became symbols of MHS Architecture’s expertise, leaving a memorable impact on clients and communities.
An Architectural Renaissance
MHS Architecture’s expansion into 3D printing reflects a growing trend within the architecture and design sectors. As 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and in-house fabrication tools become more commonplace across all industries, MHS Architecture stands out as a case-study on the successful incorporation of new technology while staying true to the core values of architectural heritage. The firm’s ongoing partnership with DDA Maker Tech is a testament to the idea that technology can augment, rather than replace, creative expression.
Resurrecting architectural models from the brink of digital obsolescence is more than a nod to tradition; it’s an acknowledgement of the lasting impact of physical representations. The ‘miniatures’ produced by MHS Architecture are more than trinkets or novelties. They are conduits, bridging the gap between analog and digital realms, uniting the historical, contemporary, and future of architecture.
In the evolving narrative of architectural development, the collaboration between MHS Architecture and DDA Maker Tech is a striking chapter, interlacing the dreams of pioneers with the acumen of tech experts. Their joint efforts have not just refined the use of 3D printing; they’ve reignited the tangible essence of architecture, ensuring that the edifices of tomorrow are not solely digital marvels, but lasting structures that firmly exist in our physical world.
The Future: 3D-Printed Houses and Beyond
Looking ahead, Marchetto envisions a future where 3D printing in architecture reaches unprecedented heights: “Right now, architects design using 3D software, print and distribute 2D plans to contractors, just to build it in 3D. Why?” This rhetorical question captures what Vincent sees as an inevitable evolution awaiting the architectural landscape. “In 200 years, robots will build our homes and our offices.” The synergy of 3D printing and architecture holds the promise of revolutionizing not just model-making but the very foundations of the construction industry. The current fascination with miniature models could evolve into a grander scale, with 3D-printed houses standing as a marriage of art and technology.
DDA Maker Tech: Architects of Innovation
MHS Architecture credits the rapid success of their additive manufacturing operation to their collaboration with DDA Maker Technologies, a partnership that demonstrates the value innovation can offer any industry. While the skilled and experienced team at MHS is unmatched in their architectural approach to modern design, DDA Maker Tech was able to provide the tools and expertise needed to fully capitalize on 3D printing at the frontier of architectural design. Once MHS Architecture had found machines that met their needs and set the operation up, DDA Maker Tech continued to provide maintenance and consultation services, fine-tuning processes and integrating design enhancements as new needs arose. With DDA Maker Tech behind them, MHS Architecture was able to focus all efforts on building their business and reaching new levels of success, with the confidence that 3D printing technology wouldn’t be a limiting factor to their growth.