Published in collaboration with NCMS
Digital Manufacturing Report

News & information about the fast-moving world
of digital manufacturing, modeling & simulation

Language Flags

The Printed House is Only the Beginning


 

Last week we ran one of those “oh, come on now!” stories – the idea that a whole house may one day spring from the feedstock of a 3D printer. Strange but true. And not only that, the idea could have implications well beyond the world of architecture. You can’t help but follow up on a story about a printed house, so here we go: are we at the beginning of an additive future?

Each time we hear about advancements in additive manufacturing, it seems a little more tantalizing… and a little crazier. But there have to be limits sooner or later, right? I mean, who would be crazy enough to attempt a 3D printed house? 

Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture, that’s who.  The final project will be a single flowing design resulting in a two story building with a twisted, continuous surface in which the floor eventually becomes the ceiling.  Ruijssenaars hopes to begin construction by 2014. He doesn’t have a client or location for the house yet, but the notoriety alone may be enough to deal with those two problems.

So how did Ruijssenaars come up with the idea?  In 2009, Universe Architecture entered a competition to build on the western coast of Ireland. They thought that a traditional house would compete with the landscape, so the idea was to building something that was like the landscape itself.  The result was a plan for a continuous structure that doesn’t have a beginning and doesn’t have an end, like a Möbius strip.  They didn’t win the competition but decided to pursue the idea anyway.

Now the design will be part of the Europan competition, which lets architects in over 15 different countries build projects over the course of two years.  Europan is a European competition of ideas for designers to give form to a Europe in which young and highly-promising designers can contribute to innovations in the field of spatial design. 

Printing Full-Size Buildings

Ruijssenaars is working with Italian inventor Enrico Dini, creator of the D-Shape 3D printer.  The machine uses ground-up rock or sand as feedstock, hardened by a resin-like binding agent.  According to D-Shape’s website, the machine “enables full-size sandstone buildings to be made without human intervention.”

Working with Dini, the team at Universe has developed a way to accomplish this goal.  They are not going to be printing the whole floor or ceiling as one gigantic piece; rather, they’ll print out 6×9 chunks of frame that will make up the outside shape of the floor or ceiling, resulting in a hollow structure.  They then plan on putting in reinforced concrete and assembling the pieces. No word – at least, not yet – on how amenities like plumbing and electric will be integrated, but given the audacity of the idea, such practicalities seem almost as trivial as the fact that there’s no location or buyer.

The Dutch seem to have proficiency for unique automation. Not long ago we heard about the Tiger-Stone, another invention from the Netherlands that prints out brick and cobblestone roads.  While not precisely additive manufacturing, it certainly implies the future of whole-construction automation, in which entire whatevers are built from feedstock with minimal human intervention.

The full promise of additive manufacturing is still a long way off, and it’s certainly possible that ongoing R&D may demonstrate that ambitious 3D printing projects for houses and roads just aren’t the best use of the technology. But numerous long-term R&D activities, including those managed by NCMS, have already proven that the foundation of 3D printing is strong for plenty of applications, including complex geometries, medical devices, rapid prototyping and much more. 3D printing has been around in one form or another for a fair length of time, and visionaries are doing ambitious things with it even as the technology is still being proven out.

Architects Unleashed

Back at Universe Architecture, Ruijssenaars notes that 3D printed houses could allow architects direct and complete influence over their designs, without “intermediaries who can add interpretation and realization mistakes.” While those intermediaries might find offense in the remark, there is a kernel of value in it: once a design is proven, every single execution of it would be exactly the same. No chance of a construction company using substandard materials, no chance of corner-cutting, none of the unexpected variances that always seem to occur when you try to do something to your house, only to find that somebody along the line did something weird to it first and it’s going to cost more money to circumvent it.

The natural curves and lines of most 3D printed objects tend to be more in concert with nature, too, unlike traditional, angular structures. Ruijssenaars’ “Landscape House” was intentionally designed to blend in with the slopes and arcs of its surroundings; something that additive manufacturing tends to do naturally anyway: building up from nothing rather than cutting away as traditional machining methods do.

One can certainly imagine an idealized future in which you don’t go shopping for a house, you simply select from a set of predesigned frames (or design your own, if you’re adventurous), choose various packages and amenities, and hit “Print.” All those manufactured houses we tend to get stuck behind on the expressway could multiply quite a bit in the future, though for now even the Landscape House is a dream that has yet to find physical form.

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to All Content


Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.
Read more...

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.
Read more...

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.
Read more...

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.
Read more...

Robots Showcase Skills at DRC

Jan 22, 2014 | A month ago, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC) commenced. The main goal of the event was to aid in the development of robots that will someday respond to natural or even man-made disasters. At this year’s DRC, prototype robots from 16 teams were put through a series of trials in which they were to showcase their skills.
Read more...

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

May 25, 2011 | Advanced computing resources optimize the site selection of wind farms.
Read more...

Not Your Parents' CFD

Oct 13, 2010 | Outdated beliefs stand in the way of greater CFD adoption.
Read more...

Manufacturers Turn to HPC to Cut Testing Costs

Oct 06, 2010 | Supercomputing saves money by reducing the need for physical testing.
Read more...

Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

Conferences and Events

Featured Events



Copyright © 2011-2014 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Manufacturing Report is a registered trademark of Tabor Communications, Inc. Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tabor Communications Inc. is prohibited.
Powered by Xtenit.