Boundary-Pushing Blueprints

Move over bricks and mortar. One architectural firm is turning to 3D printing in a bid to change the way buildings are constructed.

Published in S/ magazine, Fall 2015. Read it here.

We’ve heard about Iris van Herpen’s 3D printed clothing, the medical research on printed human cells and organs, and the controversial plans for printable pistols. There’s no denying that 3D printing is the most trending topic in the tech world, and the latest industry to dabble in the developing discipline is architecture.

DUS Architects—an Amsterdam-based firm that recently won the International Sustainability Entrepreneurship Award—is currently working on the world’s first fully 3D printed house. (The project was showcased at the Design Exchange’s 3DXL exhibit in Toronto earlier this year.) Modelled in the traditional canal house fashion, this printed property is a modern update to the Dutch icon. Each of the house’s 13 rooms are being printed separately—layering intricate lines of melted material—and will then be assembled together like children’s building blocks.

The project is set to take three years, and the techniques and technology are constantly evolving as research pours in. When perfected, the architects at DUS claim that not only will 3D printed buildings offer an efficient solution for urban cities with ever-increasing populations, but these homes will be an ecologically sustainable alternative to traditional construction. Production is local and on-site, so there is no transport cost, and when you print a structure using a digital blueprint file, you eliminate the possibility of waste materials—only the exact pieces needed are printed. Furthermore, recycled materials are melted down and then used to print new objects—the structure of DUS’ canal house is being built from bio-plastics made from vegetable oil while the holes in the walls are being filled with lightweight, foaming eco-concrete for support.

Visit 3dprintcanalhouse.com for more information.