A 3D printed tram stop in Prague by So Concrete

So Concrete,

Tomáš Hejzlar,




Outdoor Design, Landscaping,

In Prague, the Výstaviště tram stop in Holešovice, with a shelter made of UHPC concrete manufactured using robotic 3D printing, is one of a kind. The project designed by the Czech So Concrete firm, has enriched the experience of users as well as of the work team, saving up to 60% in materials compared to a traditional stop, with relative economic and sustainability benefits.

  1. Blog
  2. Materials
  3. A 3D printed tram stop in Prague by So Concrete

A 3D printed tram stop in Prague by So Concrete
Technology, aesthetics and sustainability: this is how we can sum up the design for the Výstaviště tram stop, adjacent to the Stromovka park in Prague 7, a progressive, modern and creative district, home to numerous artistic and cultural institutions. The ideal place to experiment with an innovation in the construction sector, namely robotic 3D printing with high-performance UHPC concrete, creating a tram shelter with a strong visual impact, but with characteristics that save up to 60% in materials, while obtaining excellent performance in economic and sustainability terms. In addition, the stop is complemented by a bench and information panels, providing a complete solution for the entire space in which it has been inserted.
This is the first intervention by the Czech So Concrete firm, which boasts a long experience in robotic construction technologies for urban furniture. The aim, in fact, was to demonstrate the functionality of this technology and its high aesthetic value. Because one thing is certain: the beauty of street furnishings, and in particular in public transport infrastructure, is an excellent deterrent to vandalism.
The creative process started from nature and from a parametric design, as the location, the shapes of the ribs and the columns of this small architecture all make maximum use of the effectiveness of nature-proven solutions. Záviš Unzeitig, So Concrete designer, explains how the design process works: "Already during the design phase, the structure is statically analysed, and with the help of topological optimisation, it is then possible to reduce the volume of material used. At the same time, the aesthetic qualities and structural requirements are maintained. The resulting morphology of the ribs reflects the actual behaviour of the structure under load and thus directly shows the forces that take place in it. Thanks to the optimisation, we were able to remove places with less usability from the structure and save 60% of the material. The result is a finely perforated structure that can withstand the same load as a solid concrete slab."
With the parametric programming, in this case using Grasshopper (Rhino), the definitive design was finalised, whose static verification was carried out by the Stráský, Hustý a partneři engineering firm. Once the digital part was completed, the production was fast, as it took only 24 hours to print the basic structure. Speed is certainly an important aspect of this technology, as it minimises disruption to public transport and citizens.
Thanks to the properties of UHPC, thin self-supporting structures can thus be quickly created, using a minimum amount of steel, which further reduces the ecological footprint of the tram shelter in Holešovice. In addition, the stop is composed of several structural segments, for which different types of concrete and 3D printing approaches have been used. A feature that not only offers the advantage of saving time and labour, but also the possibility of producing complex shapes, without using moulds or formwork, with a further reduction in costs. Savings that would allow administrations to invest in these small architectures, which have the potential to improve the user-experience of public transport. After all, waiting for the tram at a stop like the one in Holesovice makes the journey more pleasant and attractive, reducing traffic to the benefit of the quality of city life.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: So Concrete
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Year: 2022
Images: Tomáš Hejzlar, www.tomashejzlar.cz


Stay in touch with the protagonists of architecture, Subscribe to the Floornature Newsletter