Located on the banks of one of Amsterdam’s many canals is a building site with a difference. Architects are hoping to build Europe’s first 3D-printed house, using a 3D printer ten times bigger than an ordinary one.
The structure is made of a bio-plastic heavily based on plant oil and reinforced with microfibres, which the project’s founders say is waste-free and eco-friendly.
This not just about building a house, but about looking to the future and offering a pioneering vision of what a sustainable building industry could offer.
“It doesn’t mean that everything needs to be round or curved or crazy form but it is possible and in that way we are now discovering a new technique of the wall, integrating all kinds of necessities, let’s say, like water systems, insulation, strength, and doing that in a very smart way so we can reduce the material we need and in that sense make the house more smart,” says one of the project’s co-founders, Hans Vermeulen of Dus Architects.
The idea, for example, is to make it easy to transport the technology to different countries. And if occupants wanted to move, they could take the house apart and put it back together at another location.
“The building industry is a little bit conservative at the moment but digitalisation can totally transform that industry into a more agile industry, where you can actually share online and upgrade your neighbourhood online, and share good ideas world-wide and then send it to the machine,” says Hans Vermeulen.
Assembling the house’s pieces is like making a giant jigsaw. Expected to be completed by 2017, Amsterdam’s 3D printed house is currently open to the public. More than a building enterprise, this research project hopes to ultimately offer householders a chance to custom-build their own homes at a low cost for the environment, using locally-sourced material.