3D printed houses – Breathing new life into modern day living

3D printed houses – Breathing new life into modern day living

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Planning to have a new home? Worried about its construction, including time and cost blues? Fast forward a few years and you may end up having a fully livable house at your disposal just within a day! As the concept of 3D printed house catches up, this will be a reality.

The problem of global homelessness can be solved with 3D printing as these houses can be built in less than 24 hours at a cost of only $4,000. ICON, a construction technology company in partnership with New Story, a housing charity organization, has already shown the way by building the first permitted 3D printed house in Texas.

The house has been built with ICON’s crane-like printer called the Vulcan. The printer pours a concrete mix into a software-dictated pattern; one layer is put down at a time, and the whole structure gradually builds up from the ground.

The 3D printed house model created by ICON is 650 square feet and consists of a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and a shaded porch. It was completed in less than 24 hours, and the cost is less than $10,000.

Curve Appeal – Another interesting innovation in 3D printing 

Another recent breakthrough in the realm of 3D printed house has been achieved in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Born with an interesting name, Curve Appeal, the design has been gradually coming into life at WATG’s Chicago office.

The work towards creating this freeform 3D printed house began in 2016 as a team from US architect WATG Urban won the first prize in the Freeform Home Design Challenge, a competition conducted by Branch Technology, an architectural fabricator specializing in large-scale 3D printing.

Curve Appeal’s design is inspired by the Case Study House program carried out between 1945 and 1996. It comprises two main components: an interior core and an exterior skin derived from calculated archways intended to blend the house with its surroundings. Within the home, the complex shell geometry is intended to be not only aesthetically attractive but also structurally functional. The arching form provides structural rigidity, using various spring points throughout the floor plan, allowing the structure to carry roof loads and provide large, open-plan living spaces.

The firms involved in the design of Curve Appeal include Thornton Tomasetti, a New York-based structural engineering consultancy, which has to print test beams and partial wall sections to examine their load-bearing capabilities. The design team is researching on a range of gypsum material components with United States Gypsum and has also been working with Interface, a high-performance mechanical, electrical and plumbing design firm, to engineer a passive mechanical system that will help in making the house net-zero energy.

3D printed houses have the potential to provide safe and affordable housing alternative to people in need. New Story has already built over 800 homes in Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Mexico, and is in the process of raising $600,000 to fund a planned 100-home community in El Salvador.

With an ever growing population and limited space availability, the world definitely needs such novel solutions to combat problems like homelessness and poor living conditions, not to mention better-designed homes in lesser costs and far more quickly.

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