The Netherlands will soon be home to the world’s first concrete 3D-printed properties. But would you live in one?
We’ve discussed possible answers to the UK’s housing crisis on Convo before, but could this be the best solution put forward yet? A team of Dutch builders plans to build functional and habitable 3D-printed homes.
The process, which supporters say will revolutionise the construction industry, involves spraying specially formulated concrete layer upon layer into the desired shape.
The concept behind this concrete printing is the same as high street 3D printers, on which you can print three dimensional models and designs at home.
The University of Eindhoven and building firm Van Wijnen say they will use the method to build five new homes in the Dutch city, the first of which will be completed and put on the rental market next year.
The process has many benefits, according to proponents. They claim it will cut costs and environmental damage, as less concrete is used compared to previous building methods.
3D printing will also give builders new freedom in building design, the university said:
‘The design of the houses is based on erratic blocks in a green landscape… 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.’
They also claim that the use of 3D printing could open up the possibility of placing wireless sensors directly into the property’s walls to allow greater use of ‘smart’ tech – integrating all the lighting, heating and security controls.
The homes will be produced one by one, the developers aiming to learn from each subsequent construction. To begin with, parts will be printed at the university – but the project aims eventually to move all ‘printing’ to the building site.
The first house will be a three-bedroom bungalow, followed by several multi-storey homes. The bungalow will have only its interior and exterior walls made using the printer, but the latter homes may see drainage pipes and other features 3D printed.
Buildings have been constructed using 3D printing in the past, but the Eindhoven team claims their project will be the first to produce the first ‘commercially viable’ and habitable 3D-printed home.
Personally, I love the idea of 3D-printed buildings and houses: it opens up building design to loads of exciting new possibilities and it could make buying a home cheaper.
It could even encourage developers to move on from the traditional, and often monotonous, brick-built estates, which have been the go-to for new housing for about 40 years – and, in my opinion, that would be a good thing.
Imagine new housing estates filled with quirky, individual houses such as those in the artist’s impression of Eindhoven above… it’d be an exciting place to live (although feel free to disagree with me).
And if the method makes buying a home cheaper and is better to the environment, so much the better.
Would you live in a 3D-printed concrete home or do you prefer traditional bricks and mortar?