3D Printed Construction Reaches New Heights in the US
Housing shortages are a worldwide concern, in light of growing population densities and cost-of-living concerns. However, new technologies could breathe new life into the housing market and solve these modern concerns in an affordable way. The solution? 3D printing in construction. In the latest news, a collaboration between the architecture company HANNAH Design Office, the printing expertise of PERI Ltd. and the construction efforts of civil engineering firm CIVE has led to this: the largest residential 3D printed building project in the US. Measuring 4000 square feet, this offers a tangible, further example of the industry using additive manufacturing for domestic development.
In recent years, multiple single story buildings in the US have been printed using 3D technology. This particular project’s significance lies in its being the first two story 3D building project in the country; in neighboring Canada, nidus3D Inc. has accomplished this feat. Additionally, this latest construction is no otherworldly creation unfit for human habitation; it in fact opens the door to the possible creation of family homes. Instead of a passion project for ambitious designers and 3D-printing hobbyists, rather this could be the future of affordable housing.
The CIVE president, Hachem Domloj, explained what the project means to him and to the industry. “Having the opportunity to be the engineers and general contractor for the first multistory 3D printed structure in the U.S. has been an honor. We can see how this technology and our team’s approach is providing the scalability to larger commercial developments. Collectively, we’re changing the way our country builds, and paving the way for more affordable housing, higher structural integrity, and faster building capabilities. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless!”
Technical Design and 3D Construction
For this building, the engineers combined wood framing with 3D printed concrete blocks which were created using the COBOD BOD2 gantry printer. This causes the visible spaces in the image in which stairs or functional spaces can exist. Designers can scale the project up or down in size, allowing for the production of homes which meet individual needs. Therefore, theoretically, a three story home may be created using the same technology, hence housing more people under one roof.
Co-founder of COBOD and head of the Americas division, Philip Lund-Nielsen, stated his pride in the involvement of the BOD2 printer. He commented, “We are proud to see more and more buildings being 3D printed with our BOD2 printer in North America as a consequence of our leading position in the market and the many 3D construction printers that we sold here”. He continued: “Our superior technology and leading position is documented by COBOD being the only supplier that has delivered 3D printers for construction of multi-story projects.”
Nevertheless, 3D printing is not perfect. Like any burgeoning process, there are limitations and concerns. These include the often costly machinery and questions over the meeting of regulatory standards. It is important to remember that this project represents a single home. In construction, 3D printing is the exception, not the norm, though that may change in the near future as this example shows.
You can learn more about the specific technologies used in this project in an extended interview with Lund-Nielsen and Zaid Marmash, head of Architecture and Construction, which is available below. This offers more insight into the condition of the 3D printing construction industry, their BOD2 printer and the importance of architecture in the process.
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*Cover Photo Credits: COBOD