Ukraine: World’s first 3D-printed school in a warzone, foundation laid

Over 2,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
Baba Tamim
Representational image: 3D illustration of building project.
Representational image: 3D illustration of building project, stock photo.

Yongyos Dhammajinda/iStock  

A non-governmental organization (NGO) start-up has laid the foundation of the first 3D-printed school in Ukraine's Lviv city, in association with the local government.

It's the world's first 3D-printed school to be built in a conflict zone amid the battle-damaged streets of the heavily Russian-bombed Ukrainian city, Euronews reported on Friday.

"It saves time. It's efficient as far as it concerns energy costs, and it's going to be quick," Charles Tiné, a TEAM4UA's strategic committee member, told Euronews Next.

In collaboration with the regional administration and other enterprises using 3D technology to assist those who have been displaced by the crisis in Ukraine, TEAM4UA NGO implemented a unique proposal that has never been tried on the ground in the midst of a war.

According to the country's defense ministry, "Save Schools" is a Ukrainian project that keeps track of all damaged and ruined schools in the country by compiling images of the destroyed buildings and the dates they were hit by shelling.

Damaged schools

Over 2,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

"With each day that passes in this war, children's lives and futures are put at greater risk," Onno van Manen, Save the Children's acting Country Director in Ukraine, said.

Over 75,000 of the 250,000 officially registered internally displaced individuals in the Lviv region are school children.

Around 3.6 million children face the possibility of missing school, and 1.5 million face the possibility of developing mental health problems as a result of the Russian invasion, according to the international aid organization World Vision.

"The conflict is jeopardizing the future for an entire generation of Ukrainian children," said Jennifer Neelsen, World Vision Ukraine Crisis Response Director.

Hope is alive in Lviv

A Russian missile struck Lviv's vital infrastructure on Tuesday. The city came under repeated attack as a result of recent Russian missions, which Moscow undertook in retribution for the destruction of a crucial supply bridge connecting Russia and Crimea.

Tiné is sure that the world's first 3D-printed school will only be the beginning of the use of the technology in the nation and in other locations around the globe that may require it.

"We can print bridges, warehouses [after the school]," Tiné said.

"And once the war is over in Ukraine, the idea is to move these printers to other places where it's needed, after an earthquake or after similar disasters."

According to the digital start-up, erecting the school's walls using a 3D printer will be quicker and less expensive than starting from scratch with a new concrete structure, which might take up to two years.

The 3D-printed school will still be built, but construction work will undoubtedly be hampered by the city's recent blackout following Russian strikes.

Tiné is confident that the school will be built once it is safe for the team to enter Ukraine.

The situation, "will absolutely not divert us one centimeter off the target, which is to help people reconstruct what has been destroyed and to receive long-term education," he said.

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