3D printing concrete is a choice often made by professionals in architecture or in construction. From the USA to Europe, projects are popping up to give people who do not always have means the possibility to have a home at an affordable price. In the Netherlands, a project called Project Milestone aims at demonstrating the possibility to build in a different way.
The project consists in the construction of five 3D printed houses. Eindhoven’s municipality has collaborated with a wide range of partners to achieve this project: Eindhoven University of Technology, contractor Van Wijnen, Vesteda (real estate manager), Saint Gobain Weber Beamix (materials company) and Witteveen+Bos, an engineering company. Vesteda, the buyer of these houses, will rent them to those who will be interested. The architects Houben & Van Mierlo designed the project and were inspired by “erratic blocks in a green landscape”.
As far as specificities are concerned, the first habitable house is expected to be ready by mid-2019. Professionals will build a single-floor dwelling and for the rest, they will make multi-story houses.
It should be noted that the team will make sure that concrete structures respect all the regular building regulations and fit the needs of current-day tenants regarding comfort, lay-out, quality and pricing.
As planned, the asymmetrical shapes of the houses will be made thanks to 3D printing and its ability to produce complex shapes. According to the two architects, the design would enable to have a high level of quality and sustainability. Let’s note for example that these houses will not integrate natural gas connections which is scarce for houses in the Netherlands.
Theo Salet, in charge of the TU/e’s 3D Concrete Printing Center told how the project started: “We came up with this idea two years ago during the Dutch Design Week. But you need partners to make such an idea a reality. We have the 3D printing technique and now we want to know what it is like to live in a 3D printed house. We are still learning, and we hope that our team will print out buildings in the future.”
Partners are expected to continue research during the construction process. “This means that every new 3D printed house can benefit from advancing insights and knowledge we have learned and can be adapted directly to the wishes of the residents,” says Salet.
For now, we already know that the building elements of the first house will be made at the university, the idea being to proceed step by step before starting construction on site.
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