First multi-storey 3D printed building of U.S. rises up in Texas

The 4,000-square-foot project serves as an example of mass customization.
Nergis Firtina
3D construction printing.
3D construction printing

HANNAH 

Printing begins on a two-story, single-family home that combines a flexible structural system and a hybridized construction approach.

Hannah, Peri 3D Construction, and Cive, a firm that specializes in construction engineering, will be working together on the project for two years.

As stated by HANNAH, the 4,000-square-foot project serves as an example of mass customization, 3D printing technology, and design methods that incorporate traditional building techniques.

The project will take place in Houston, Texas and is predicted to take a total of 330 hours of printing, said architect Leslie Lok, co-founder of design studio HANNAH, according to Reuters.

“You can actually find a lot of 3D-printed buildings in many states,” Lok told Reuters. “One of the things about printing a second storey is you require, you know, the machine… And, of course, there are other challenges: structural challenges, logistic challenges when we print a second-storey building."

First multi-storey 3D printed building of U.S. rises up in Texas
3D printed building.

How will the construction process be?

The building's design is envisioned as a collection of printed cores that each feature stairs and rooms. The wood framing that connects the spatial centers creates an architectural contrast between framed and concrete interiors. 

The project's adaptable design and construction methodology can be used to build mixed-use and multi-family buildings. The project will use the 'COBOD BOD2' gantry printer- a construction printer that 3D prints concrete- for its design layout.

Cive's head of structural engineering, Hikmat Zerbe, is optimistic that the cutting-edge technology will one day make building multi-family homes quicker and more affordable.

“Traditional construction, you know the rules, you know the game, you know the material properties, the material behavior. In here, everything is new,” Zerbe said. “The material is new, although concrete is an old material in general, 3D printing concrete is something new.”

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More about HANNAH

The experimental design and research studio HANNAH works on projects ranging in scale from furniture to urbanism.

Digital design and fabrication technologies are key to the creation of the company's work, enabling new building techniques, material processes, tectonic articulations, environmental practices, and technology affordances.

As designers, HANNAH does not become fixated on technology for its own reason.

"We consider ourselves to be biased generalists rather than specialists. We inform form. At various scales, our work’s performance and architectural expression are inherently derived from materiality, digital construction protocols, robotic routines, new technologies, odd construction techniques, and bottom-up design logic," according to HANNAH's site.

"At the same time, in a mix of means, it is inspired by precedent, history, program, ecological considerations, collective labor, personal obsessions, and the creative misuse of technology."