October 08, 2023

Project Milestone: A 3D Printed Home

Eindhoven, Netherlands // 1,011 Sq Ft // €1,375 (~$1,415)/mo

In a groundbreaking achievement for 3D-printed homes, a unique Flintstones-style property located in Eindhoven, Netherlands, has become the first legally habitable house in Europe with 3D-printed load-bearing walls. This boulder-shaped home in the Bosrijk suburb marks a significant step forward in practical 3D-printed construction. Created by the Eindhoven University of Technology, the home is available for rent on a monthly basis.

The construction of this pioneering home is part of Project Milestone, a collaborative effort involving Eindhoven University of Technology, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Witteveen+Bos, and Van Wijnen. The local authority provided the land for the project, and residential investor Vesteda will purchase the homes to assess their viability as rental properties.

The bungalow-style home offers 94 square meters (1,011 square feet) of living space, featuring an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen area, along with two bedrooms. Natural light floods the interior through large windows, and the on-site installation included a built-in kitchen, bathroom, windows, flooring, and finishing touches.

The construction process employed an enormous robotic arm equipped with a specialized concrete nozzle. This innovative technique allowed the architect's plan to be translated into layers of concrete printed on-site. The advantages of 3D printing with concrete include the ability to create complex shapes without the need for formwork, faster construction times, and the simultaneous creation of reinforcement and openings. Additionally, the automated nature of the process enables construction to proceed 24 hours a day.

The 3D-printed walls of the home display a distinctive pattern that showcases the layers of concrete printed by the robotic arm, including the points where the nozzle head was changed during the printing process. The developers anticipate a project lifespan of over 50 years due to the high-quality materials used.

Despite some construction delays due to challenging design elements, the home's unique curved form was made possible by the capabilities of 3D printing. Factory printing of the home's 24 sections took a mere 120 hours, with the largest section weighing 12 tons and standing 2.5 meters tall. After transport to the site, the sections were assembled on a foundation, and the finishing touches, including windows, doors, and the roof, were added on-site.

This project serves as a learning opportunity for future developments within Project Milestone. Four additional houses will be designed to push the boundaries of 3D printing in construction. The final dwelling will be a three-story, three-bedroom family home that aims to be entirely printed on-site.

With an energy performance coefficient of 0.25, the home demonstrates high energy efficiency. The developers believe that further advancements can be made by exploring alternative materials, reducing the amount of concrete required and thereby minimizing the CO2 footprint. The home seamlessly integrates 3D-printed concrete walls with traditional building materials such as plasterboard internal walls, standard window and door frames, and district heating provided by the local authority.

The completion of Europe's first legally habitable house with 3D-printed load-bearing walls marks a significant milestone in the evolution of 3D-printed homes. This achievement opens up possibilities for more sustainable and efficient construction methods while showcasing the potential for innovative designs that blend creativity and functionality.


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