4 August 2023

3D Printed Homes Creating Sustainable Lifestyles

mustard BE shines the spotlight on this developing building craze

 

There have been whispers for a while about 3D printed houses. These evolved into audible chatter, which has in turn become the current conversation. And with the fruition of the 3D print build vision, that discussion is getting louder and louder.   

  

There are a number of exciting projects currently being unveiled, but before we have a closer look, we’re going to walk you through a brief beginners guide to constructing a 3D building: 

  

Step one:

Before you get to the printing part, a blueprint must be created with computer-aided design (CAD) software. This is, unsurprisingly, usually carried out by architects and engineers. The plan contains a focused description of the design, and details of measurements and the placement of windows, doors, and electrical and plumbing systems. 

  

Step two:

Installing an onsite 3D printer, as well as additional equipment including hardware and software solutions, a pump, and a mini batch plant.  

The building team will then conduct an analysis of local weather and other conditions to ensure that the printing material mix, commonly a variation of concrete or mortar, can withstand the environment. 

  

Step three:

The realisation of the vision gets kick-started. The printer uses the CAD to accurately produce the walls in layers, while controlling the smoothness or layered finish of these walls with its nozzle. After printing, the concrete is often moisturised for 24 hours, which helps prevent cracks and flaws from developing.  

It’s this part of the building process that gives 3D concrete printing one of its main advantages over conventional construction methods, as the core of the building is complete within hours or a few days.   

  

Step four:

Adding those essential finishing touches, such as doors, windows and installing electrical and plumbing systems. 

Now that we’ve dealt with the basics, it’s time to take a look at a couple of new 3D building developments that are making their architectural and community debuts.  

Back in September 2022, Mighty Buildings delivered what it claimed was a world first – a 3D-printed net-zero home. The Oakland-based technology company buddied up with Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC), who designed the two-bedroom, two-bath home, known as the Quatro. The team explained that the Quatro will produce as much energy as it consumes using Mighty Buildings’ flexible, panelised kit of parts. 

 

The home’s light-gauge steel roof cassettes and plumbing/mechanical core module were prefabricated off-site, allowing the home’s components to be positioned onto its concrete slab foundation in less than a day. From beginning to end, an entire Quatro can be constructed within 4-5 months, something that will see Mighty Homes complete 20 units in a brand-new Desert Hot Springs community. 

 

Next, we’re flipping our attention over to Danish architecture studio BIG and American 3D-printing firm ICON. Recently featured in dezeen, the daring duo have just completed a full-sized model home at what is planned to be the “largest-scale development of 3D-printed homes in the world”.  

 

The house is the first of the new Wolf Ranch development, a neighbourhood in Georgetown, Texas that’s within spitting distance of Austin. The 100 houses are currently under construction using local firm Lennar and will serve as a model for prospective buyers, with the first now starring as a Showhome. 

 

Right now, these beautiful, unusual and cutting-edge houses will cost prospective owners between $475,990 and $559,990 (£370,455 – £435,831). Not bad for something that’s clearly playing in the major league of design and quality. How impressive are these structures that they are creating?

 

Meanwhile…

Are you an architect or 3D building designer with the vision to bring sustainable lifestyles to life? If you’ve got the skills and intention to push the printed home industry closer towards a new world vision, then we’ve got the jobs to get you excited. Pick up the phone now and call us on 0117 929 6060.  


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