It appears that technology is finally catching up with the construction industry’s ambitions, as a handful of 3D-printed projects inch closer to fruition. The Dutch city of Eindhoven will be the first in the world to have habitable 3D-printed concrete houses.
Not one but five 3D-printed concrete houses chosen for occupancy will be erected in Eindhoven. Of the first five new houses to be put on the rental market next year, the smallest, with two bedrooms, has already attracted applications from 20 interested families just a week after images were made available.
World’s first 3D-printed concrete housing project
Designed by university TU Eindhoven, this small community of 3D-printed concrete houses look like a modern-day Stonehenge. TU Eindhoven spent years developing the technology capable of printing large-scale, freeform concrete structures called Project Milestone. And according to the Dutch construction company Van Wijnen, this new technology will offer a solution to a shortage of skilled bricklayers in the Netherlands. The method will also cut costs and environmental damage by reducing the amount of cement that is needed.
“We have no need for the moulds used to create houses made with cement today, and so we will never use more cement than is necessary,” Van Gurp said.
The 3D printer being used is essentially a huge robotic arm with a nozzle that uses specially formulated cement. The cement is then layered according to an architect’s design; adding layer upon layer to create a wall, and increase its strength. Only the exterior and inner walls of the first of the new homes will be made using the printer, which will be located off-site. The team has plans to change up the design and craft the next four into a variety of oblong, multiple story houses.
“Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures. Another new possibility is to print all kinds, qualities and colours of concrete, all in a single product.”
The use of 3D printing also opens the possibility of placing wireless sensors directly into the properties’ walls. This would allow a home to be fully “smart”, incorporating all the lighting, heating and security controls required.
Over the next five years, the 3D-printed concrete houses will be constructed consecutively. This way fresh innovations and lessons learnt can be applied to the subsequent house. However, if you’re looking for something more portable, take a look at this self-sustainable micro home.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.