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Holcim 3D-prints Kenyan housing complex

7 Dec 21 Holcim is printing what is claimed to be Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing complex.

Holcim's joint venture is building a complex of 3D-printed houses
Holcim's joint venture is building a complex of 3D-printed houses

The 52-house complex in Kenya is being developed by its joint venture 14Trees in partnership with CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution.

The Mvule Gardens housing complex, which builds on Holcim’s 3D-printed school in Malawi, is designed to scale up affordable housing in Kenya to be part of bridging the country’s infrastructure gap.

Holcim said the project was made possible by its proprietary ‘ink’ – dry mortar - TectorPrint, giving the walls structural function to bear the load of the building. It said that this breakthrough will accelerate the scale-up of 3D printing for affordable housing.

Jan Jenisch, CEO Holcim, said: “We are excited to be building one of the world’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing projects in Kenya. With today’s rapid urbanisation, over three billion people are expected to need affordable housing by 2030. This issue is most acute in Africa, with countries like Kenya already facing an estimated shortage of two million houses. By deploying 3D printing, we can address this infrastructure gap at scale to increase living standards for all.”

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Tenbite Ermias, CDC Africa managing director, added: “14Trees is pioneering the use of leading edge technology to address one of Africa’s most pressing development needs - affordable housing - to create life-changing infrastructure for whole communities.”

The Mvule Gardens in Kilifi, Kenya, is part of Green Heart of Kenya, designed to be a model for inclusive and climate-resilient cities.

Holcim’s joint venture 14Trees is dedicated to addressing Africa’s shortage of affordable housing with 3D printing and smart design while creating skilled local jobs. Holcim said that the technique can reduce the environmental footprint of a house by more than 50% compared to conventional methods, while the walls can be built at record speed in just 12 hours compared to almost four days with conventional building techniques. Mass Design Group, an American and African-based architecture practice, designed the Mvule Gardens project.

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