Another such invention, 3-D printing, is now scaling up. All over the world, an impressive diversity of people and organizations, ranging from startups and hobbyists to construction and engineering firms, are successfully prototyping 3-D-printed buildings. The government of Dubai has set a goal of 3-D printing 25% of every new building by 2030. Prototype single-family dwellings have been 3-D-printed in China, Italy, Russia--and Texas. Global infrastructure firm AECOM ACM 2.59% uses 3-D printing to prefabricate jail cells and hospital rooms.
This incredible 3D-printed home was built by a robot in just 48 hours. Constructed using a special quick-drying mortar, the building is the first of its kind because it can be deconstructed and reassembled at a different location. The one-story home, which has been described as a'milestone' for 3D printing construction, covers 100 square meters (1,075 square feet) and features curved walls, a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. The Italian architects behind the project said it is just a proof-of-concept for now, and did not disclose how much it cost to build. They added that the house could one day be printed on the moon to house lunar colonies.
The nascent additive construction industry is slowly starting to take shape as an increasing number of start-ups appear on the scene with techniques for 3D printing large-scale structures. The latest is a London-based company called Ai Build, which aims to make additive construction smarter and more accessible through the use of artificial intelligence and affordable materials. As with many additive construction endeavors, Ai Build's entry into the field begins with a 3D-printed pavilion. As an ornamental building, a pavilion is the perfect large, yet nonfunctional structure for demonstrating the possibilities of 3D-printed architecture, as there is no need to meet critical requirements for a building that might be used by people, as with an office or a home. Unveiled at the GPU Technology Conference in Amsterdam at the end of September, the Daedalus Pavilion is a structure made from 48 different pieces 3Dprinted from Formfutura PLA filament over the course of three weeks.
The world's first habitable 3D-printed homes are to be built in the Dutch city of Eindhoven - a move which developers hope will help transform the construction industry. The five concrete houses will be created later this year as part of Project Milestone, a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology and various partners who will ensure the houses meet living standards and be occupied. "The project is the world's first commercial housing project based on 3D concrete printing," a spokesperson for the university said. "The houses will all be occupied [and] they will meet all modern comfort requirements." It is not the first time a house has been 3D-printed, although all previous attempts have been prototypes or part of research projects.
The building site of the future is going to look very different to the one we are all used to today. Instead of men in high-visibility jackets and hard hats, there are going to be drones buzzing overhead, robotic bulldozers and 3D printers churning out new structures. That at least is the hope of those making technological solutions. But first they have to convince the traditionally risk-averse construction industry that such change is necessary. US start-up Skycatch is using drones on some high-profile building projects - although it cannot name them because of commercial sensitivity.