Frank Lloyd Wright's Annie Pfeiffer Chapel brought back to life using 3D printing

Restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed chapel was made possible (and affordable) thanks to 3D printing.

September 09, 2014 |

Not even a decade ago, the cost to recast the handmade cement block structures of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel on the campus of a Florida Southern College was prohibitively expensive.

But today, as 3D printing technology improves and becomes more affordable, the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was recently restored in precise architectural detail, Design Milk reports.

The chapel was constructed using Wright’s signature textile block building system, utilizing student labor in the years between 1938 to 1941. More than 6,000 tapestry blocks decorated into 46 unique designs were individually cast from coquina and concrete.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources and a $350,000 grant provided by the Save America’s Treasurers Program of the National Park Service, the chapel’s splendor was restored. The Florida Southern College reports that by using 3D printers purchased with these grants, restorers were able to create molds for the intricate concrete blocks that were originally constructed by hand.

Consistent with Wright’s original design, 2,000 distinctive colored glass tiles were created and inserted into the manufactured blocks.

Learn more on the chapel’s restoration and see the equipment in action at Florida Southern College news.

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