The type chair: formal and economic optimization in full-scale 3d printing

  • Frank Jacobus
  • Jeff Quantz


This paper discusses the implications of full-scale 3d printing when confronted with normative economic constraints in relation to desired formal outcomes. To explore this, we designed the Type Chair, which includes in its design, a cost and form optimization algorithm that ties the specifics of formal outcomes directly to cost. We describe the design of the chair and its accompanying algorithm, as well as the results we’ve gathered by employing this process. There is cutting edge, well documented work being done in the domain of 3d printing which suggests a potential paradigm shift for future architects and their approach toward design and construction. These processes embrace the notion that an architect’s role is evolving away from the development of singular fixed objects and into the conceptualization of objects whose form changes based on the inputs and desires of a lay audience. The novelty of the approach in this project is the interrogation of how 3d printing processes may affect formal iteration and control in relation to normative market processes and forces. There is an ongoing revolution in the way objects are being conceived and made, and perhaps more importantly, an evolution in the expectations of a lay public whose daily engagement is now with devices and objects which have, as a primary ethos, the character of individual responsiveness. These discussions are important as we confront the potentials and limitations of full-scale 3d printing as a construction type, and how these emerging processes will affect architects and their changing role in the years to come.

How to Cite
Jacobus, F., & Quantz, J. (2019). The type chair: formal and economic optimization in full-scale 3d printing. ARCC Conference Repository, 1(1). Retrieved from