When 3D printing first hit the mainstream, many were beyond excited about the endless possibilities that this new technology opened the doors to. Amongst the dreamers were the creative architects at the Dutch Dus Architects firm.
The firm had been using 3D printers for a long time, employing the technology to create incredibly detailed miniature models of work to be completed—amongst other things—but felt that there had to be a way to employ this technology to create full-scale, fully liveable homes. As architects, the company saw the numerous advantages of the technology, including its sustainability, easier disposal, lower transport costs and the ability to create personalized architecture.
“The building industry is one of the most polluting and inefficient industries out there,” says Hedwig Heinsman of Dus. “With 3D printing, there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs and everything can be melted down and recycled. This could revolutionize how we make our cities.”
So, working in conjunction with Ultimator, the company responsible for creating the small printers Dus was previously using, they began to work on building a printer that was big enough to print a house.
They began with what they called the KamerMaker, Dutch for “room maker”, a large format 3D printer that the company built inside a shipping container and set on display in the front yard of their headquarters, inviting passersby to take a peek at how the technology actually works. Viewers could offer their feedback, comments and ideas, allowing the local population to contribute to the project at large.
Then, after theorizing the ability to create large scale homes, the group set off to work. Recently, they began the actual creation of the first 3D-printed house, a canal house for Amsterdam’s bustling canal network. The creation process is fairly simple. The printer simply creates the rooms one at a time and then assembles them together into a complete home. First, the room elements are printed from the small printer, to test for stability, design and functionality. Then, using the same files, the designs are sent to the large printer, the KamerMaker, which uses the same principle to create life-size versions of the homes.
The company is even working on a new bio-based 3D printing material created specifically for architectural projects, which will eventually replace the plastic pieces used in current 3D printing and offer more stability and support, making it even more sustainable than the current materials.
The Canal House concept project has been on display at the Amsterdam Museum for some time now, but Dus Architects have now officially begun the construction process for the world’s first 3D-printed home. What’s more, people from all over the world can follow along with the development of the project online, as one of the company’s main aims is to include the public in its process. The building site is open to the public and new videos of the process of development and construction are constantly being shared via the company’s website.
Learn more about the project here.