The first 3D printed houses will appear in Eindhoven
3D printing has now become a widespread practice. We have been getting more familiar it in recent years, first through the printing of small objects, then progressing to furniture, chairs, armchairs and tables. In addition to this, the development of new technologies and new production and design methods is now affecting the world of design and architecture, creating functional elements with completely new aesthetics, unusual shapes and new colours. We discussed the impact of new technologies in the design world, particularly artificial intelligence, in our article dedicated to A.I. Design that you can find below.
Building houses in 3D: from utopian dream to reality
But how far can 3D design and construction go? Potentially research has no boundaries and it is not by coincidence that recently the Eindhoven University of Technology released details of a project that will start in 2019 and that has a decidedly futuristic flavour to it. The result of years of study and innovation, the team in the technology faculty of this Dutch city, in collaboration with various companies such as Van Wijnen, Vesteda Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix and the engineering company Witteveen + Bos, announced plans to print a number of 3D houses in concrete that will be available to rent.
The project, called Project Milestone, is a world first in the production of dwellings using 3D printing in concrete. We are not talking about prototypes, but rather real habitable houses, even multi-storey, that will satisfy all the modern requirements of comfort and the fair division of space. This project will lay the foundations for new frontiers in research into 3D printing in concrete and will pave the way for new methods of building even on a large scale and, above all, in a markedly faster way.
How will Project Milestone be carried out?
From an operational perspective, according to the project managers, the homes will be built in modules, composed of irregular walls and complex decorative architectural features. Each module will be printed at Eindhoven University (using sophisticated machines for 3D printing in concrete) and will then be transported to the construction site, which will be located in the Meerhoven district (west of the city) where they will all be assembled.
The ultimate goal, however, is to produce the modules progressively directly on site, learning from the experience of building the first houses in order to perfect the technique and the materials based on the feedback accumulated during the course of the work.
There will be a total of five buildings in Project Milestone, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019. The first of the five to be built will be ready for habitation as early as the first months of 2019; it will be a single storey three-bedroom bungalow. The other structures to be built in the area will instead be several storeys high.
“The design of the houses features irregular blocks set in a green landscape,” says the university. “The irregular shape of the buildings exploits the ability of 3D printing to produce any shape in a functional and aesthetically perfect way.”
An extremely important benefit of constructing houses in 3D is sustainability. Indeed the designers have explained that far less cement is needed than in the construction of a normal house and this significantly reduces the CO2 emissions generated by the manufacture of the cement itself.
Eindhoven is confirmed as a pioneer of innovative design
The Eindhoven University of Technology has always stood out for being the home of innovative design, experimentation and technological innovation. It hosts companies from different industrial sectors such as Philips, Philips Design and DAF and one of the most important design schools in Europe, the Design Academy Eindhoven. All the details emerged during the last edition of the Dutch Design Week 2017, which we have extensively documented in the article you can find HERE.
As far as 3D construction is concerned, Eindhoven (and Holland in general) is not new to projects of this kind. Using 3D printing in concrete, the work group that is running Project Milestone recently printed the first 3D printed concrete bridge for cyclists, in the village of Gemert; a few years ago saw the building of the micro-house in Amsterdam, printed in 3D by DUS Architects and a 3D printed house project by Cybe Construction, specialists in this type of building.
Even though until now the idea of real houses printed in 3D could rightly be considered to be a utopian dream, we can be sure that starting from 2019 this new building practice will become reality. Curious to see what they will be like?
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