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World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives

The project in Madagascar blends humanitarian work with innovative technology and sustainable architecture.

World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
3D hut design Thinking Huts

A Colorado-based nonprofit organization (NGO), Thinking Huts, has joined forces with an architectural firm and 3D-technology firm to build the world's first 3D-printed school in Madagascar. 

The aim is to blend innovative design and sustainability with humanitarian work to provide education for young children. The pilot school will be brought to life using 3D-printed walls, and locally-sourced construction materials for the roof, doors, and windows. 

World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
The school concept in Madagascar. Source: Provided by Thinking Huts

"Thinking Huts has the potential to transform education for millions globally, using 3D technology to design and develop schools will significantly improve access to quality education for underserved communities," said Asif Khan, Board Member of Thinking Huts in a press release.

Working together with Studio Mortazavi for the design, and Hyperion Robotics for the 3D technology, Thinking Huts aims to see the first school built in 2021. 

Details of the 3D-printed school

The team decided on Madagascar as its first location as the need for education in the nation is a pressing one, as well as its potential for economic growth, its political stability, and solar energy possibilities. 

World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
The future pilot school's design. Source: Thinking Huts

In the country, 60 percent out of its 1.3 million primary school-aged children don't have access to schools due to overcrowding and underfunding.

World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
The school can be put together in different formations. Source: Provided by Thinking Huts

Two of the reasons for choosing 3D technologies to build its schools is to minimize construction time and costs, as 3D printing is much faster than traditional construction times. What usually takes months can be finished in a matter of days with 3D printing. On top of this, 3D printing also minimizes carbon emissions.

The 3D printer will be Hyperion Robotics', which is a 3D-printing technology company based in Finland. 

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World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
Hyperion Robotics' 3D printer for the project. Source: Hyperion Robotics

The design of the school is based on beehives in a configuration that allows for expansion. Able to be set up in different pod-like formations, the school's buildings are easily put together. Easily transportable and to put up, the school design is ideal to set up in remote and hard-to-reach areas of the world where schools are not easily accessible. 

World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
One of the pod designs. Source: Provided by Thinking Huts
World's First 3D-Printed School Is Inspired by Beehives
Another pod design. Source: Provided by Thinking Huts

3D-printing houses is quickly gaining speed and designs are already impressive and innovative, so it's easy to understand why these designs would also prove useful for schools. 

Thinking Huts' plan is to see how its pilot project in southern Madagascar goes before expanding within Madagascar, and hopefully to the rest of the world. 

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