Remember how disappointed we were all when 2020 came and we didn’t get flying cars but got a pandemic instead? Well, there’s always a bright side. There’s been an ongoing unfolding of a new era of technology, 3D houses.
On the 29th of April, retired shopkeepers from the Netherlands, Elize Lutz, 70, and Harrie Dekkers, 67, became the first tenants of the first habitable house-made using 3D-printing technology.
Although the project took a whole year to be completed, the 3D-printed was done in only 5 days. The remaining time was spent on construction and adding the final touches.
This boulder-shaped house located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, is the first of five by ‘Project Milestone’, a collaborative construction & innovation project between Eindhoven University of Technology, Van Wijnen, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Vesteda, the Municipality of Eindhoven and Witteveen+Bos.
The Netherlands is neither the first place to be fostering a 3D-printed house nor is this a new trend in the construction industry.
In 2018, a French family became the world’s first inhabitants of a 3D-printed house in France. Led by the University of Nantes, this house is part of the social housing project to produce affordable and energy, time & cost-efficient housing.
Italy is also home to Tecla, where natural materials and technology meet at one point as it’s the world’s first 3D-printed house made entirely from raw earth.
In 2020, Czech Republic went a step further to create a floating 3D-printed house, and it took them 22 hours in total to print. It was built with the intention of becoming a leisure-time house for a small family as it only consists of a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
In 2016, Spain opened its first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge in Madrid.
United Arab Emirates
Not only is Europe a pioneer in this 3D-printing technology but also Dubai plans to be the center for 3D-printed construction. It has managed to put itself on the map with two Guinness World Records.
The first one with the world’s first 3D-printed commercial building which was unveiled last year. It now houses the office of the Dubai Future Academy. It took them 17 days to print the basic building and 3 months to build and adjust the interior design.
And the second time with the world’s largest 3D-printed building which was constructed by only one printer and 3 workers.
Apis Cor, the same company that built Dubai’s largest building, also made another record in Moscow, Russia in 2017 by building the world’s first 3D-printed house in only 24 hours.
This year, India made its mark by constructing its first-ever 3D-printed house, thanks to a start-up founded by alumni of IIT Madras.
It’s impossible to talk about anything happening in both the industries of technology and construction without mentioning China.
The Chinese firm, WinSun, is unstoppable. In 2014, it managed to print10 full-sized houses in a day.
A year later, it built the world’s tallest 3D-printed building, a five-story apartment block.
WinSun didn’t stop in China. In 2015, it was in talks with the Egyptian government to build 20,000-unit using the 3D-printing technology. Yet up to now, there haven’t been any further updates.
In 2020, it was announced that Mexico would start constructing the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood. This is part of a project working to combat global homelessness.
There are numerous good things about 3D houses. First, they’re relatively low cost as there’s no money needed to hire people to build them. A normal house would take months to merely build the structure while the 3D-printing technique can take just one day, so it saves a lot of time. As always, innovation leaves no room for anything traditional and with 3D houses, there are no limitations for how unique the design can be.
Everything comes with a price and we definitely can’t overlook the cons of the 3D-printing technology. It’s not eco-friendly. Several researchers revealed that this technology consumes a large amount of energy, larger than the amount used by milling and drilling machines. Most printers need specific materials which are not the same as the traditional ones, thus, finding raw materials for a 3D house can be quite challenging. It’s no surprise that digitalization & the development of technologies are always at the expense of manpower.
Studying mass communication by day, having tea with Murakami by night. Nour goes back and forth between Cairo and Dubai which makes her curious about the diverse cultures in the world!