7 of the most beautiful 3D-printed houses and cabins
- 3D printing has become a game-changer in many industries, and construction is no exception.
- The idea of 3D printing houses has been around for several years, but it's only in recent times that technology has advanced enough to make it a practical solution.
- Using large 3D printers that can print entire walls and other building components, it's now possible to construct a house in a matter of days rather than months.
This technology has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry by making housing more affordable and accessible, especially in areas where traditional construction methods are too expensive or time-consuming. Here we'll explore the concept of 3D-printed houses, how they're constructed, and their potential benefits.
Here are seven compelling examples of proposed and in-development 3D printed housing projects worldwide. Perhaps you might want to get one printed for yourself someday.
What is a 3D-printed house?
The answer is, quite literally, in the name. 3D-printed houses are created using substantial 3D printers that, unlike smaller hobbyists or other industrial units, can extrude concrete, plastic, or other building materials through nozzles to gradually build up a 3D object the size of a house.
These printers, specifically their nozzles, can move in multiple planes and are designed to be very robust and hardy, as they generally need to operate outdoors on variable terrain.
To date, various research institutions and private enterprises are working on the technique, and some believe that the construction industry's future may eventually come to rely on the descendants of current giant 3D printers.
Can you print a house, and how much does it cost?
3D-printed houses are still a novelty and are still in development, but you can 3D print a house for much less money than having one built using more traditional construction methods. For some projects currently in development, costs are somewhere in the order of $10,000, although this is for a relatively small structure.
According to a report from The Verge on ICON's operation techniques, "the 3D-printed house would be made of cement and take up to one day to be printed by large, 3D printing robots. Best of all, the homes would cost just $10,000. And ICON hopes that eventually, it can bring the cost of homes down to $4,000."
But it should be noted this is for a tiny, 2-bed house. Larger constructions would likely cost more. Some 3D homes have been built for less than half that.
How long do 3D-printed houses last?
Since most 3D-printed houses are made from concrete, they should last a decent amount of time. With proper maintenance and continuous habitation, there is no reason they shouldn't last as long as more traditional concrete constructions.
Estimates vary, but most agree that they should last at least last about 50 to 60 years.
Many 3D-printed houses do have timber elements included, which may be susceptible to decay over time if they are not treated or maintained correctly.
Some other 3D-printed buildings have been specifically designed to be biodegradable and are only intended for temporary accommodation, use in disaster relief operations, and different short-term housing needs.
Is it possible to take up residence in a 3D-printed house? Well, most 3D printed houses created to date sway towards proof of concept builds, but some projects worldwide are working on techniques to produce 3D houses fit for habitation.
What are some examples of 3D printed houses?
So, without further ado, here are 7 interesting examples. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. These tiny 3D houses in Mexico are pretty cute
In Mexico, a giant 3D printer is being used to create an entirely new neighborhood. Each house takes around 24 hours to complete and can house a small family.
The 32.8 feet (10 mt) long printer quickly churns out the shell of every 498 ft2 (152 m2) area; the roof, windows, and interiors are fitted later. A non-profit called New Story is behind the endeavor.
They have teamed up with ICON to use their enormous Vulcan II printer to create the houses.
The idea is to allow low-income residents in rural areas to move out of their shacks into these new, two-bed houses. It is thought that developments like this could one day help solve the housing crisis in many areas worldwide.
2. This 3D-printed house can operate off-grid
Called the PassivDom House, this house was designed to be as sustainable and energy-efficient as possible. It runs entirely on solar power and can even generate its water from the moisture in the air with an optional add-on.
It was created using a large 3D printer in a factory in Nevada and could be a game-changer for small housing.
The shower in the bathroom can also clean and recycle water. The house is designed to use as few resources as possible. Initially, the company wasn't aiming at creating an off-grid home, but the team realized it was a feasible option as they developed their ideas.
3. This Italian 3D-printed house is tiny but full of potential
An Italian 3D-printing company called WASP is building tiny houses to showcase the abilities of their revolutionary Crane WASP printer. This modular 3D printer can create homes in a variety of formats and sizes very rapidly indeed.
These new 3D printed houses, called Gaia, are 322 sq ft (30 sq mt) dwellings with a 3D printed outer shell and internal timber beams supporting each unit's timber roof. The above example was published in situ in Massa Lombardo, a town in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, in October 2018.
The material for the house contains mud from the surrounding area and waste byproducts from rice production, such as straw and husks. The place is also biodegradable!
4. These 3D-printed houses look like something from an alien world
Developed through the collaboration of the Eindhoven University of Technology and Houben/Van Mierlo Architects, these 3D-printed houses look like something you'd find in an alien world. They hope to produce a few units shortly to be rented at a reasonable price.
The Dutch university is set to construct around 5 buildings over the next five years; each is almost entirely made of concrete.
"The project is the world's first commercial housing project based on 3D-concrete printing," said the university. "The houses will all be occupied, they will meet all modern comfort requirements, and they will be purchased and let out by a real estate company."
5. This 3D-printed house is also a work of art
Back in 2016, a team of architects in Chicago proposed a fantastic design for a 3D-printed house made of printed plastic, carbon-fiber panels, and glazed walls. The team won first prize in the Freeform Home Design Challenge for a good reason.
The design for the 3D-printed dwelling is incredibly bold and, compared to other examples above, makes the most of the technology. Called Curve Appeal, the building is a thing of beauty.
The plan was to 3D print the building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is planned to be completed in 2020.
6. This Amsterdam-based company created micro 3D-printed homes
DUS Architects are planning to build tiny 3D-printed micro-homes in Amsterdam. Each tiny 26.2 ft2 (8 m2) cabin has a very cozy internal bathtub.
Each 3D cabin is built using bio-plastic, and the project is intended to demonstrate how additive manufacturing can offer solutions for temporary housing solutions in disaster areas, among other applications. When the cabin is no longer needed, it can be destroyed, and almost all the materials can be reused.
"The building is research into compact and sustainable dwelling solutions in urban environments," said the team behind the cabins.
7. These 3D-printed houses are made out of hemp
There are plans to build a set of hemp-based 3D printed houses in Australia in the not-too-distant future. Designed by the biotech company Mirreco, they hope to harness the "explosive potential of industrial hemp."
The company believes it should be possible to 3D print the floors, walls, and even roofs of buildings using carbon-neutral hempcrete panels. The company recently unveiled its plans that were developed in collaboration with Arcforms, an architectural company based in Perth.
“The floors, walls, and roof will all be made using hemp biomass, and the windows will incorporate cutting-edge technology that allows light to pass through the glass, where it is converted into electricity,” Mirreco stated.
And that's your lot for today.
3D-printed houses represent a promising new construction approach that can transform the housing industry. While the technology is still in its early stages, developing large-scale 3D printers and sustainable materials makes 3D-printed houses an increasingly viable solution for addressing housing challenges worldwide.
From reducing construction costs to creating unique and customizable designs, 3D-printed houses offer a range of benefits that traditional construction methods cannot match. As technology continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see how 3D printing will shape the future of housing and construction.