The striking building – five such homes will be built in Eindhoven in the coming years – consists of 24 printed concrete elements.
Surprising in itself, because the fine printing and that plump concrete don’t seem to go together. Nevertheless, expectations are high, because this technology could just contribute to the solution of the gigantic housing shortage in the Netherlands.
Normally, concrete is poured within a custom-made wooden formwork, where that (rough) outline also determines the shape and the element is always solid. But with the 3D concrete printer (the size of an average bedroom), very fine structures and hollow, concrete-saving constructions are possible. With details as small as a marble and round and convex shapes.
The creative possibilities for architects are endless, while individual wishes of future residents can be easily processed.
The current architectural style is expected to change from rectangular buildings to a much more creative street scene with organic shapes. At the same time, 3D printing saves money and waste; the current method of building formwork is not only expensive, but also creates a lot of surplus material.
The technique also offers practical possibilities. Sensors for temperature, lighting or security can be incorporated directly into the concrete model. Expensive and time-consuming retrofitting is no longer necessary.
In addition, different types, qualities and colors of concrete can be combined in one element, as well as materials such as fibers, iron wire and drainage pipes. The elements are then put together at lightning speed on the construction site, like a puzzle.
Experts envision endless possibilities. In Belgium, a house with two floors has already been printed on the site itself. At Kamp C, a provincial Center for Sustainability and Innovation in construction. The whole process took 15 days.
A printer on site will also be used in the Eindhoven Project Milestone. The five houses are built one after the other so that each new development can be included and tested immediately.
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