3D printing of concrete is a potential game changer in the building industry. Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures.
Work will start this year on the world’s first 3D-printed concrete house to be built and occupied.
It will be a single-storey house and it’s expected to be ready for occupation in the first half of 2019.
Eventually, there will be five futuristic houses in the Project Milestone development, which is in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
The other four houses in the development will be multi-storey houses. And all five houses will be subject to regular building regulations and they all will meet the demands of current-day occupants concerning comfort, lay-out, quality and pricing.
Project Milestone is a joint venture between the municipality of Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, contractor Van Wijnen, real estate manager Vesteda, materials company Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos.
Vesteda, the prospective buyer, will let the houses to tenants.
The design of the houses is based on erratic blocks in a green landscape. The university says the irregular shape of the buildings can be realised thanks to one of the key features of 3D-printing: the ability to construct almost any shape.
”The design aims at a high level of quality and sustainability. For example, the houses will not have a natural gas connection, which is quite rare in the Netherlands.”
During the project, research on concrete printing will be done for new innovations. The five houses will be built consecutively, so every time these innovations and all lessons learnt can be applied in the next house.
The building elements of the first house will all be printed by the concrete printer at the university. It is the intention to gradually shift the whole construction work to the construction site. The last house will be fully realised on site, including the print work.
Eindhoven is a hot spot for 3D-concrete printing, with the research group of concrete technology professor Theo Salet and its concrete printer as pivotal elements. The group recently printed world’s first 3D-printed concrete bridge for cyclists in the village of Gemert.
The university says 3D printing of concrete is a potential “game changer” in the building industry.
”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. This enables integration of all sorts of functions in one and the same building element.”
The university says the process makes it easy to incorporate individual wishes for every single house, at minimum extra costs.
”Another important advantage is sustainability, as much less concrete is needed and hence much less cement, which reduces the C02 emissions originating from cement production.”
Chinese Company Constructs the World’s Tallest 3D Printed Building
Once again, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co has expanded the capabilities of 3D printing. After constructing ten houses in under twenty-four hours last year, now they are back with both the world’s tallest 3D printed building a five-story apartment block and a 1,100 square meter mansion with internal and external decoration to boot.
On display in Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu province, the two buildings represent new frontiers for 3D printed construction, finally demonstrating its potential for creating more traditional building typologies and therefore its suitability for use by mainstream developers.
The buildings were created using the same 6.6 by 10 meter tall printer which builds up layers of an “ink” made from a mixture of glass fibre, steel, cement, hardening agents and recycled construction waste. With this technology, WinSun is able to print out large sections of a building, which are then assembled together much like prefabricated concrete designs to create the final building.
In a press conference attended by online 3D printing newspaper 3Ders.org, the Chief engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau Ma Rongquan explained: “These two houses are in full compliance with the relevant national standards. It is safe, reliable, and features a good integration of architecture and decoration. But as there is no specific national standard for 3D printing architecture, we need to revise and improve a standard for the future.”
The company also announced a raft of signed contracts and future plans that will expand 3D printed buildings beyond the realm of construction experiments: the $160,000 mansion is the prototype for a set of ten that has been ordered by Taiwanese real estate company Tomson Group a third house on display at Suzhou Industrial Park was just one of 20,000 ordered by the Egyptian Government; they also announced the creation of Winsun Global, a collaboration with an American firm that will seek to expand into countries around the world with the aim of providing cheap and efficient homes for low-income families, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.