4D printing for modular construction components – Applications and main developments


  • Renata Morbiducci University of Genoa (Italy)
  • Salvatore Polverino University of Genoa (Italy)
  • Caterina Battaglia University of Genoa (Italy)




innovative materials, smart materials, 4D printing, additive manufacturing, modular construction


Since the end of the 20th century, a rapid expansion has characterised digital fabrication techniques in different areas of human activity. In particular, in the construction sector, their use has enabled the production of unprecedented modular components that can be customised according to specific application requirements. This includes the use of additive manufacturing techniques employing 4D printing for the production of responsive modular elements. However, despite being able to contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change, they are still scarcely used. This essay intends to analyse the main peculiarities of 4D printing techniques for the production of modular elements for architecture, highlighting their main limitations and potentialities that influence their use.


Article info

Received: 18/09/2023; Revised: 15/10/2023; Accepted: 29/10/2023


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Author Biographies

Renata Morbiducci, University of Genoa (Italy)

Architect and PhD, she is a Full Professor of Technical Architecture, a member of the NGO RINGO, COP-UNFCCC Delegation and a Scientist Responsible for international and national projects. She researches the themes of innovation in building techniques for the environmental sustainability of the construction sector.
E-mail: renata.morbiducci@unige.it

Salvatore Polverino, University of Genoa (Italy)

Building Engineer-Architect and PhD, he is a Researcher in Technical Architecture. He researches construction techniques and applications of technologically advanced materials in architecture and construction.
E-mail: salvatore.polverino@unige.it

Caterina Battaglia, University of Genoa (Italy)

Engineer and PhD Candidate at the Department of Architecture and Design, she carries out research in building site digitisation and technological innovation, focusing on the potential of 3D printing in the construction sector.
E-mail: caterina.battaglia@edu.unige.it


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Example of a structure realised within the Agua¬hoja projects (credit: N. Oxman and Mediated Matter Lab, 2019). AGATHÓN 14 | 2023




How to Cite

Morbiducci, R., Polverino, S. and Battaglia, C. (2023) “4D printing for modular construction components – Applications and main developments”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 14, pp. 182–193. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/14152023.

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