“What a sight!” says Harrie Dekkers when he sees ‘his’ home for the next six months. Together with his wife Elise, Harrie is going to live in the first ever 3D-printed house. The house, in the shape of a giant boulder, was made with a 3D concrete printer. It is a detached, single-story house with 94 square meters of living space and is located in the Eindhoven neighborhood of Bosrijk. This is the first house built by ‘Project Milestone‘ and fully complies with all of the strict Dutch building regulations.
Project Milestone is a collaborative construction and innovation project of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Van Wijnen, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Vesteda, the municipality of Eindhoven and Witteveen+Bos. With the 3D-printing of houses, the parties hope to solve the housing shortage and make construction more sustainable. “Innovation is an important pillar in construction. In addition to affordable housing, the market is increasingly demanding more innovative housing concepts. We are now setting the tone for the future with the 3D-printed home. The rapid realization of affordable housing that gives you a say in the shape of your own home,” says Yasin Torunoglu, councillor for housing and spatial development at the municipality of Eindhoven.
The house comprises 24 printed concrete elements. These were printed layer by layer at the 3D printing factory in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The elements were transported by trucks to the building site where they were placed on a foundation. After that, the house was provided with a roof and window frames and then finished off. The 3D concrete printer had printed the elements within five days.
Read more about the 3D concrete printer here.
Aside from the speed, there is also another important advantage to 3D printing of houses. For one thing, it is a lot more sustainable because a lot less concrete is needed. Normally, some concrete is lost on the construction site, due to mistakes, for instance. The 3D printer works with great precision, which means that fewer materials are wasted and there are fewer costs due to failures. Steven Delfgaauw, Buildings business unit manager at Witteveen+Bos: “Today, we are taking an important step towards a construction chain in which it will be possible to build the sustainable house of your dreams within a short period of time.” The house is especially energy-efficient thanks to its extra-thick insulation layer and connection to the heat network.
Creative freedom in the shape
Moreover, 3D printing offers a lot of freedom when it comes to building houses. Housing does not have to be square or rectangular. Diifferent shapes and sizes can easily be realized with a 3D printer. The shape of a boulder fits in well with the natural location in the Bosrijk neighborhood. “The creative freedom in the shapes that 3D-printing in concrete offers, opens up a wide range of possibilities to design and experience a home,” says Pieter Knauff, Chief Investment Officer at Vesteda.
Four more houses will follow this first one over the next few years. The partners in Project Milestone will use the knowledge gained from this first construction project in the next house. The next house will probably have several floors, which will pose new challenges.
Characteristic of the project is the ‘Triple Helix’ partnership of government, knowledge institutions and the business community. The municipality was a co-initiator, driver of innovation and also facilitated the project. TU/e carried out the research and developed models to make 3D concrete printing possible, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix developed the special types of concrete mortar needed for 3D printing. Plus they developed the printing technology together with TU/e. Witteveen+Bos worked on the engineering and structural aspects of the construction. The Van Wijnen construction company led the project and built the house. The house is now owned by Vesteda, which rents it out to private individuals.