Iowa State University’s College of Design 3D project finds a permanent home at Reiman Gardens

Author: Andrew Gogerty

3D planters and furniture from ISU

AMES, Iowa—The innovative work of an Iowa State University College of Design class will leave a sustainable and beautiful impact on generations of visitors to Reiman Gardens through the creation of 3D-printed concrete planting pots and furniture.

Students from Design Studies 546, a capstone interdisciplinary studio that brings together students from across the College, collaborated on a project that developed low-carbon 3D-printed concrete made from decommissioned wind turbines and corn stover ash. The class was led by Shelby Elizabeth Doyle, AIA LEED AP Associate Professor of Architecture, and Stan G. Thurston Professor in Design Build ISU College of Design. 

The 3D-printed furniture was printed at the ISU Computation & Construction Lab, an initiative of the ISU Department of Architecture located in the Communications Building. The CCL works to connect advances in computation and construction to teaching, research, and outreach. Students in the 3D printed furniture project included: 

  • Bachelor of Architecture: Nick Cheung, Evan Corkery, Weston Fantz, Nicole Friedman, Thomas Hewitt, Daniel Leira, Mircea Nastase, Jaren Pierce, Connor Shanahan, Gabriel Yingst
  • Master of Architecture: Priya Barot, Mahsa Keyhani, Zachary Lin, 
  • Bachelor of Landscape: Gabriel Phillips
  • Master of Landscape Architecture: Mona Kazemian

The 3D printed planters were designed by Associate Professor Shelby Doyle and fourth-year architecture students during the Fall 2023 semester. They were printed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in collaboration with PIKUS 3D, a commercial landscape element 3D printing company, and shipped to Ames. Students in the 3D printed planters project included:

  • Bachelor of Architecture: Edmon Ammari, Kaitlyn Bolkcom, Britney Brcka, Brett Cherry, Cooper Frakes, Angelina German, Zina Kaissi, Vyshnav Kattikoloth, Jacey Loew, Monique Nespor, Madalyn Niemeier, Kyle Petersen, Ben Schmitz, Madison Schreiner, Whitney Walkup.

According to the College of Design, the research and coursework exhibited during IGNITE 2024 (an annual innovation showcase of student creativity at ISU) was made possible by several grants and the work of many people over the last three years. The corn stover ash utilized in the concrete was supplied by Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm. The decommissioned wind turbines used in the concrete were supplied by Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

The 3D-printed planters and furniture were delivered to Reiman Gardens on May 3 and are on display in various areas of Reiman Gardens, including the Patio Garden and Sycamore Falls.