Building a house has always been a time consuming, expensive and labor intensive task. With 3D printing, this traditionally difficult process is changing with the technology now increasing efficiency and lowering costs. In the last few years full scale 3D printed homes, bridges, cabins, and large scale structures have been popping up more and more. These projects present new and unique design concepts and help expand affordable housing.
3D printing helps make the process much less expensive and time consuming. Because 3D printed structures are relatively quick to produce, this makes them an ideal solution for emergency and low income housing. It also allows for the use of unconventional shapes and textures that would be highly expensive to create otherwise. 3D printing is also more environmentally friendly, as it is possible to print using raw soil and waste from the rice production chain or print using our overabundance of plastic.
There are many intriguing examples of completed and ongoing 3D printed house projects appearing all over the world. Here are just a few of those.
The Gaia Earth House
In Italy, Crane WASP Technology created Gaia, a house made out of natural materials from the surrounding area. They developed a compound composed of 25% of soil taken from the site (30% clay, 40% silt and 30% sand), 40% from straw chopped rice, 25% rice husk and 10% hydraulic lime to print the house. It has almost no environmental impact and does not need any heating or air conditioning in winter or summer.
The Succulent Ceramic Tiled Shed
After a housing shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area, restrictions on accessory dwellings were loosened allowing people to build extra housing in backyards. A company called Emerging Objects created a 120 square foot 3D printed backyard shed, the front of which is completely covered with 3D printed succulent planters. The roof and the rear and side facades are covered in a 3D printed ceramic screen composed of 4,500 ceramic tiles.
The 45 Day Villa
In China, a company called HuaSheng Tengda printed a 400 square foot villa live and on-site in 45 days. The 250mm thick walls of the villa were printed using 20 tons of C30-grade concrete making it highly durable. It was even found to be able to withstand an earthquake up to a level eight on the Richter Scale after seismic testing.
New Story + ICON’s 3D Printed Community in Tabasco, Mexico
New Story, a non-profit organization building affordable and secure homes for those in need has partnered with Austin, Texas based ICON to create a community of 3D printed homes granted to families in extreme poverty or unsafe shelters. These 500 square foot homes feature 2 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bath and were each printed in 24 hours over several days by ICON’s Vulcan II.
These projects illustrate the wide range of possibility that 3D printing offers the architecture world. It shows that it is becoming more and more possible to create secure, environmentally friendly and affordable homes for more people not only expanding design innovation and opportunity but providing relief for those in need.