A 3D printed church in California

If we are now used to seeing houses , bridges or even pop-up stores printed in 3D, no religious building has yet been designed using additive manufacturing. But according to the latest news, it could well be that a church will be 3D printed before long. And if for the moment nothing is done, the order has in any case been placed. The Lake California Community Church called on the American company Don Ajamian Construction and the company specializing in 3D printing Emergent 3D to build a church. A first in the construction and additive manufacturing sector.

 » We’ve been trying to build a church for 20 years now , » says Jim Laxson, the pastor of Lake California Community Church.  » And now, with 3D printing, we’re going to be able to build it more economically . » And according to Don Ajamian, the owner of the American company, the benefits of additive manufacturing do not just come down to the cost of construction. Indeed, the interior walls printed in 3D have been designed to offer perfect acoustics by directing the sound waves directly towards the public. So much so that, according to Mr. Ajamian, the pastor will not need a microphone to address the entire audience.

3D church

The reasons for 3D printing

As discussed above, Lake California Community Church used Emergent 3D’s services also to minimize construction costs. And the least we can say is that this choice has paid off. The various teams explain that they have made savings of 10%, particularly in relation to the building materials used. To print the church, the two companies say they used COBOD’s 3D solutions, which are now used in many projects.

Thanks to additive manufacturing, the various project stakeholders also hope to achieve significant savings in terms of time. Don Ajamian explains: “ I don’t need, for example, to bring in a group of stucco workers to put things outside or lay a covering. I also don’t need to bring in a bunch of plasterers to dry the interior wall. Literally, when these things are printed, that wall is finished other than the paint . » For the moment, only the leveling of the site has been carried out. According to the companies, 3D printing should start in the summer of 2022.

3D modeling, step by step

1. Recovery of 2D plans

The 3D modeling of the Notre-Dame church was carried out from the 2D vector plan of the building made up of several views: ground plan, longitudinal and transverse sections, etc.

First, we imported this 2D data into our 3D software. Then, we positioned and scaled the different planes in our 3D space.

The 3D Graphic Designer – 3D Modeling – 2D plan of the Saint-Maudet church, Le Juch, Brittany
LG3D – 3D modeling – Animated gif of the creation of the Saint-Maudet church

3D church

2. Modeling techniques

Thanks to these different 2D views, we created 3D objects of the structure of the building and its furniture with the right dimensions.

For most structural elements, we started our modeling work from a flat 3D object, positioned and scaled relative to the 2D ground plane. Then, we made an elevation from the 2D transverse and longitudinal plans of the church. We thus obtained the walls, the columns and a large part of the furniture.

Windows, doors and more complex elements have many architectural details (carved details of arcades, stained glass, doors…). For these objects, we used the vectors and curves of the 2D plane to generate them in 3D . This was the most consequent work of the modeling of this church, which has about twenty particularly varied and detailed windows and doors.

For the statues, we used royalty-free 3D objects to minimize production costs. These 3D objects did not necessarily have to reflect reality for the purpose of the project, but they had to be scaled for the lighting design. We used many recent photos of the building to position and scale them.

LG3D – 3D Modeling – 3D view of the Saint-Maudet church, Commune of Juch, Brittany
The 3D Designer – 3D Modeling – View of the Saint-Maudet church, Commune of Juch, Brittany


Once all the objects were in place, we made some materials and textures to add color and better differentiate the elements. For this project, the texturing is simple , the final objective not being to have a hyper-realistic rendering of the building.

4. Exports

The last step of this project was the export of this modeling in several 3D file formats . Mael Iger will thus be able to import the complete modeling of the church into its own software in order to design and produce the lighting.