‘The world’s first 3D-concrete printing houses’ in Eindhoven
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The first of five planned 3D-printed concrete houses is expected to start this year in the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The project, called Project Milestone, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world, as the houses will all be occupied.

The six partners involved in the project are: the city of Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, contractor Van Wijnen, real estate manager Vesteda, materials company Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix, and engineering company Witteveen+Bos.

The project is planned to be carried out in the Eindhoven city expansion area Meerhoven over the next five years. The first house, which will be a single-floor house, is expected to be ready for occupation in the first half of 2019. The other four houses will be multi-storey houses.

According to the project partners, Vesteda is the prospective buyer and will let the houses to tenants. The concrete dwellings will be subject to all the regular building regulations and will meet the demands of current-day occupants concerning comfort, lay-out, quality and pricing.

The design of the houses is based on erratic blocks in a green landscape, said the project partners. The irregular shape of the buildings can be performed, thanks to one of the key features of 3D-printing: the ability to construct almost any shape. The design also aims at a high level of quality and sustainability. For example, the houses will not have a natural gas connection, which is said to be quite rare in the Netherlands.

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During the project, research on concrete printing will be done for new innovations. The five houses will be built consecutively, so every time these innovations and all lessons learnt can be applied in the next house. The building elements of the first house will all be printed by the concrete printer at the university. The project partners intends to gradually shift the whole construction work to the construction site. The last house will be fully carried out on site, including the print work.

Eindhoven is considered a hot spot for 3D-concrete printing, with the research group of concrete technology professor Theo Salet and its concrete printer as pivotal elements. The group recently printed the world’s first 3D-printed concrete bridge for cyclists in the village of Gemert.

3D-printing of concrete is a potential game changer in the building industry. Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures. Another new possibility is to print all kinds, qualities and colours of concrete, all in a single product. This enables integration of all sorts of functions in one and the same building element. Also it becomes easy to incorporate individual wishes for every single house, at minimum extra costs. Another important advantage is sustainability, as much less concrete is needed and hence much less cement, which reduces the CO2 emissions originating from cement production.

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