World’s First 3D-Printed Housing Project to be Built in the Netherlands

The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to host the world’s first commercial housing project based on 3D-concrete printing, with the first of five planned houses due to start construction this year.

Eindhoven University of Technology has announced plans to 3D print a series of concrete houses that will be made available to rent. In what is being described as a world first, the Dutch university is set to build five 3D-printed houses over the next five years, which will all become rental properties.

“The project is the world’s first commercial housing project based on 3D-concrete printing,” said the university. “The houses will all be occupied, they will meet all modern comfort requirements, and they will be purchased and let out by a real estate company.”

Project Milestone will be delivered in partnership with the city municipality, contractor Van Wijnen, real-estate firm Vesteda, materials manufacturer Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix and engineering company Witteveen+Bos.

“The first aim of the project is to build five great houses that are comfortable to live in and will have happy occupants,” developers say. Beyond that, they hope to promote 3D concrete printing science and technology so that printed housing “will soon be a reality that is widely adopted.”

The “printer” in this case is a big robotic arm that will shape cement of a light, whipped-cream consistency, based on an architect’s design. The cement is layered for strength.

The project developers say that the consistency of this concrete and the precision of the printer will make it possible to mix and use only as much cement as is needed, which makes it environmentally-friendly and less expensive than classic construction methods. The printer and unique cement will also allow them to create unusual forms that challenge conventional notions of home design.

“When the first occupant receives the key in 2019, there [will be] a home that meets the latest needs for comfort […] And in fantastic wooded natural surroundings,” project developers promise. The boulder-shaped homes are meant to blend in naturally with the surrounding park and be energy-efficient.

These futuristic homes, chosen for development by the Eindhoven municipality during Dutch Design Week 2016, will be part of an architectural “sculpture garden” in the green neighborhood. Eventually, the developers hope to 3D print and construct many more odd dwellings onsite in Bosrijk and beyond.