The High Tech Society

3D Printed Buildings Could Soon Become a Reality


3D Printed Buildings Could Soon Become a Reality

by Brandy Cross

3D printing has been everywhere lately, mostly because it is a versatile and easy way to create just about anything. From 3D printed guns to 3D printed toilet bowls, 3D seems to be one of the biggest new technologies around. And with the capability to quickly and easily print just about anything using any melting plastic (including waste plastic) it is practical and affordable as well. Everyone from toymakers to architects already use 3D printing techniques to build and sell toys and architect models, but now, the technology could be used to make 3D printed buildings.

3D Printed Building

Mockup of the Landscape House courtesy of @UniverseArchitecture

Enrico Dini and Janjaap Ruijssenaars Work Together on Project

Initially designed by Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars, the concept of 3D printed buildings could soon be coming to life. Ruijsssenaars (pronounced Ruiysenares) is now working together with 3D printing expert Enrico Dini who specializing in large scale 3D printing. Both designers are working together to help design a practical solution for building Janjaap Ruijssenaars 1,000 square meter building (about 10764 square feet) to life using nothing more than a 3D printer.

Enrico Dini suggests that even with his 3D printer, the building might still need concrete reinforcement to ensure that the building is stable. However, 3D printing techniques could allow some of the most fabulous structures ever built to come to life, not as attached pieces, but as solid-one piece buildings.

How it Works

Printing a building might sound like something fantastical, but Enrico Dini and Janjaap Ruijssenaars seem confident that it will work. In fact, museums and art houses have already expressed interest in Ruijssenaars design which he is calling the Landscape House.

The 3D printer used to make the design will be called D-Shape and will use sand and a bonding agent to create a marble like material that is supposedly stronger than cement. The 3D printer would have to move over the surface of the building creating layer after layer of material that would bond together to create a structure made out of a single looping piece. Without timber frames or molds to form the material (as must be done with concrete) builders could construct more quickly, lower budgets, and of course, have more eco-friendly construction methods.

Will a 3D Printed Building Work?

With the right planning, the correct material, and the right designs, a 3D printed building is well within the realm of possibility. For Enrico Dini and Ruijssenaars the main problem so far is that the building would need concrete reinforcements, and upwards of $6.6 million in funds. But that’s not stopping the two from planning big. Both designers plan on building one in every country, probably starting with major countries.

With the amount of interest already generated, including from wealthy individuals, reason shows that 3D printed buildings will quickly become a reality and might soon cease to be an architectural marvel and eventually become the commonplace. Using cheap materials, eco-friendly construction methods, and strong bonding agents will produce strong buildings that are much cheaper than wood frame or concrete. That alone will attract plenty of attention, especially since the buildings are beautiful, elegant, and currently priced about the same as standard museum buildings.

Ruijssenaars plans to have the first 3D building ‘Landscape House’ in place by 2014, and then as 3D printing methods are refined and made more affordable, more are sure to go up quickly after.

What do you think? Is 3D printing the future of modern construction? If not, what do you think is a good alternative to the time consuming and expensive wood frame and concrete methods commonly used today?