A house that could resist earthquakes was built in Guatemala in 26 hours using a 3D printer.
A team in Guatemala have used 3D printing technology to create an earthquake-proof house in just 26 hours.
It’s not the first time that a house has been 3D-printed; the team behind the project, however, believes they have managed to design an edifice resistant to earthquakes.
Organic-shaped walls made with the printer were combined with more traditional techniques from the region, like a roof made of palm leaves.
To build the 49 square-metre house, COBOD International - a supplier of 3D printers - partnered with the Danish architecture company 3DCP Group which handled the printing with Progreso, a cement company.
26 hours to build the house
The house, made of 3 metre-high walls, was constructed in 26 printing hours over seven days.
The architecture is based on organic shapes that would have "otherwise be extremely expensive, even unfeasible to complete with concrete blocks, the region’s predominant building material," COBOD said in a statement.
With 3D printing allowing more creative freedom, the architects decided to pay homage to Guatemala in their design.
"If you look at the plan drawing of the interior, the walls are placed so that they resemble the paw of the jaguar, which is present in the area,” Mikkel Brich, 3DCP Group CEO, told Euronews Next.
The house's roof made of palm leaves is reminiscent of 'palapas' - dwellings with thatched roofs - that can be found throughout Central America: they are inexpensive, provide thermal comfort, and are well-suited for seismic regions due to being made of a flexible, lightweight material.
"In order to ensure the structure can withstand the potential seismic loads of the region, we have calculated the needed strength of the building. The building is designed to be able to withstand a 9.0 earthquake," said Brich.
"This is done by following the local codes and global guidelines for the calculations. We have also made subsequent simulations of the building in order to have the highest possible security for the design," he added.
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However, the project came with its challenges.
"The heat [upwards of 40 degrees Celsius] and direct sunlight is a natural enemy of the 3D ink, as it is prone to cracking under such conditions. To combat that, we chose to print at night," said Brich, adding that the heavy rain also posed a difficulty.
There has been a lot of enthusiasm in recent years for 3D-printed buildings since the technology first appeared in the 2000s.
COBOD also designed Europe’s first 3D-printed building, located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is also the company behind a 3D-printed school built in Ukraine amid the destruction of the ongoing war.
The growing interest in this technology is in part due to the fact that the construction sector is noted as a major emitter of greenhouse gases.
Researchers estimate that the construction industry accounts for 40 per cent of the world's material resource consumption and 38 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions.
In particular, concrete is responsible for 8 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions due to the energy-intensive process required to manufacture it. 3D printing could cut the environmental footprintby half mostly through less waste.
In addition, 3D-printed technology is also thought to be less demanding for workers.
"We eliminate most of the heavy and repetitive lifting," said Brich adding that this technique also reduced the sources for errors and increased the speed of production.