World’s first habitable 3D printed house to be built in the Netherlands

The world’s first habitable 3D printed house is to be built in the Netherlands as part of a five year project to produce new homes at a time where there is a severe shortage of bricklayers.

The first house in Eindhoven will be a three bedroom bungalow made from 3D printed concrete and is expected to be ready to live in by the middle of 2019. Work on the development, called Project Milestone, begins later this year.

A total of five homes will be built and the other four will be multi-storey houses. All the homes are due to be bought by Vesteda and they will then be let to tenants.

The concrete homes are subject to all the regular building regulations and will meet the demands of current day occupants concerning comfort, layout, quality and pricing.

The design of the houses is based on erratic blocks in a green landscape. The irregular shape of the buildings can be realized due to the ability of 3D printing to construct almost any shape.

Research, innovation and design will continue during the building of all the houses so that new techniques can be used as the development progresses. Only the exterior and inner walls of the first home will be made using the printer. But by the time the fifth home with three bedrooms over three floors it is hoped that the drainage pipes and other necessary installations will also be made using the printer.

The building elements of the first house will all be printed by the concrete printer at the Eindhoven University of Technology but the aim is to gradually shift the work to the construction site. The last house will be fully built on site, including the print work.

Eindhoven University is a leader in 3D concrete printing. Concrete technology professor Theo Salet and his team have recently printed the world’s first 3D printed concrete bridge for cyclists in the village of Gemert.

3D-printing of concrete is regarded as a potential game changer in the building industry. Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures.

Another new possibility is to print all kinds, qualities and colours of concrete, all in a single product. This enables integration of all sorts of functions in one and the same building element. Also it becomes easy to incorporate individual wishes for every single house, at minimum extra costs.

‘Another important advantage is sustainability, as much less concrete is needed and hence much less cement, which reduces the CO2 emissions originating from cement production,’ said Salet.

According to Rudy van Gurp, a manager at the firm which is working in collaboration on the project with the Eindhoven University of Technology, 3D printed homes will become mainstream in the next five years.

‘In the Netherlands we have a shortage of bricklayers and people who work outside and so it offers a solution to that. It will eventually be cheaper than the traditional methods. Bricklaying is becoming more and more expensive. Alongside, bricks and the use of timber, this will be a third option,’ he added.