Robot Builds First 3D-Printed House at Milan Design Week
This year’s Salone del Mobile design fair in Milan showcased new modes of home living that incorporated cutting-edge design trends. Manufacturers and designers from all over the world took part in the event in hopes of gaining recognition from its 430,000+ attendees.
World-renowned engineering firm Arup and Italian architecture studio CLS Architetti were just two of many to exhibit their work at the fair, collaborating to build a 3D-printed house called “3D Housing 05” on site. Located in the Piazza Cesare Beccaria near the Duomo di Milano, this one-bedroom structure was completely assembled by a portable robot in an effort to raise awareness on how 3D printing can be used to reduce construction waste.
“We want 3D printing to be taken more seriously. It’s potential to disrupt the construction industry has been seriously underestimated. Our ultimate aim is to bring about a shift in the way the construction industry operates — for us all to move away from a ‘make, use, dispose’ mentality,” commented Guglielmo Carra, the European Materials Consultation Lead at Arup.
3D Housing 05 is described as the “first 3D-printed one-bedroom house in Europe” and covers 100 square meters. The firms developed a plan for the house over the course of a week, but the actual structure was printed in just 48 hours. Made up of 35 modules, the structure consists of a living space, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
“My aesthetic vision for concrete 3D printing is to integrate new, more organic shapes in[to] the surrounding landscapes or urban architecture. I wanted to show a different way of using a printing machine and explore how a concrete house could create a dialogue with our memories of interior design, made of references to archetypes of the past,” explained Massimiliano Locatelli, an architect at CLS Architetti.
CyBe Construction, a 3D printing company founded in Poland, and Italcementi, an Italian cement supplier, were also brought on to bring the project to life. CyBe designed the robot that printed the home while Italcementi supplied the robot with a special mixture of concrete and additives to do so.
“The peculiarity of the concrete mix is to be made so that the curing time is much faster than in traditional cases, so as to allow the bottom layers of any printed part to withstand the load created by top layers,” explained Carra.
“Each section of the wall takes around an hour to build, and the concrete cures in five minutes. There are possibilities to program the robot to make them larger or smaller or maybe even different shapes. You can also print furniture” said CLS.
At the end of it all, CLS was presented with “2018 Best Sustainability” award. The house was then transported to Italcenmenti’s headquarters, where it is currently being displayed.
“We really hope to move the project on to build a real house, as this one is only a prototype. We want to study the foundations, joints, and connections and understand how it can last not only for just one week but for years,” said Carra.
Arup claims that 3D printing helps make the world less wasteful. More specifically, they say that this method of construction reduces waste by increasing efficiency during the building process.
“We’ve shown with this building that 3D printing technology is now advanced enough to take on more complex structures and design buildings to be repurposed or reused at the end of their life,” Carra continued. “This technology is critical to helping our industry become far more accurate, efficient, and less wasteful.”