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Tue May 11 2021

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Keys handed over for 3D-printed home [with video]

30 Apr Residents have moved in to the first of five planned 3D-printed concrete houses at a site in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Tenants Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers have been given the key to the house, which complies with all of the strict building requirements of the Netherlands.

Project Milestone is a joint construction and innovation project of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Van Wijnen, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Vesteda, the Municipality of Eindhoven and Witteveen+Bos.

The house is a detached single-storey home with 94m2 of net floor area, including a living room and two bedrooms. It is shaped like a large boulder, designed to fit in with the natural location and demonstrate the freedom of form that is offered by 3D concrete printing. Thanks to extra thick insulation and a connection to a heat grid, the home is energy efficient, with an energy performance coefficient of 0.25.

The partners deliberately out to designing the house in the shape of an irregular boulder. It was especially challenging to print the inclining walls.

In principle, printed homes can be built a lot faster with more flexibility and personalised designs, said TU/e. In addition, the technique requires less concrete than conventional construction. The ambition of the Project Milestone partners is for 3D concrete printing eventually to become a sustainable construction method that contributes to solving the housing shortage.

The five houses of Project Milestone are being built one after the other so that each new round of construction can maximise the learning opportunities from the previous. Soon, the project partners will begin work on the design of the next homes, which will have multiple floors and therefore require further development of the technique.

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The house consists of 24 printed concrete elements that were printed layer by layer at the printing plant in Eindhoven. The elements were transported by truck to the building site and placed on a foundation. The house was then provided with a roof and frames, and the finishing touches applied.

The project has involved collaboration between the government, knowledge institutions and industry. The municipality was co-initiator, booster of innovation and facilitator of the project. TU/e conducted research and developed models to enable 3D concrete printing, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix developed the special types of concrete mix needed for 3D printing, and they worked together to develop the printing technology. Witteveen+Bos worked on the building engineering and structural aspects. Construction company Van Wijnen led the project and built the house. The house is now owned by residential real estate investor Vesteda, which rents it out to private individuals.

Theo Salet, professor of concrete structures at Eindhoven University of Technology said: “With this small building, a first major step has been taken today in the development of construction into a high-quality manufacturing industry. From design to implementation, digitalisation leads to sustainable and affordable homes tailored to the wishes of the occupant. I’m proud that the knowledge we’ve developed at TU/e has led to this innovation by industry, with the help of the municipality, within a short timeframe.”

Bas Huysmans, CEO of Saint Gobain Weber Benelux, said: “With the printing insulated and self-supporting wall elements curved in three planes, we’ve taken important steps in this project in the further development of 3D concrete printing in construction. Together with all partners, we’ve completed a challenging process and realized a very special home. I think that we’ll soon be able to proudly add the Milestone houses to the list of iconic projects in Eindhoven.”

Pieter Knauff, chief investment officer at Vesteda, said: “3D concrete printing’s freedom of form creates an enormous new scope of possibilities in the design and experience of a home. At the same time, this new technique contributes to the required sustainability in the construction industry, the acceleration of building production and the control of construction costs, which is much needed in order to continue building affordable homes.”

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