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3D Housing 05, Milan

Creating the first 3D printed concrete house in EU

3D Housing 05 is a 3D printed house built in central Milan, as a temporary installation at the Salone del Mobile design festival 2018. Printed on-site by a portable robot, the house showcases the role 3D printing can play in reducing construction waste, by minimizing inefficiencies during the building process. It also allows materials to be reused at the end of the building’s life, rather than ending up in landfill.

While CLS Architects designed the house, Arup provided structural engineering and materials consulting services on this project; demonstrating the opportunity to scale up the use of concrete 3D printing in the construction industry, even with complex shapes and challenging design briefs.

The project has recently received the Best Sustainability Prize, Milano Design Award 2018 at the Salone del Mobile design festival.

Project Summary

1st 3D printed Concrete House in EU

48hseffective time to print the full house

35 modulesused for this efficient, sustainable and flexible construction technique

Watch this video: Our work on 3D House demonstrates how we’re harnessing technology to build new structures more efficiently than ever before and reduce construction waste.

The construction industry is currently one of the world’s biggest users of resources; in the UK alone it accounts for 60% of all raw materials consumed. With the arrival of the 3D printed house, the first of its kind within the EU, we've shown the ability to minimize the use of concrete and therefore reduce construction waste. Once more, the structure has been designed in such a way that is can be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere. 

A house in 48 hours

The one storey concrete house, temporarily located in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria, covers 100 square meters; it has curved walls, a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. The project differs from many other 3D processes in its use of a robotic manipulator, mounted on a movable base for increased flexibility compared with fixed 3D printers. The house is made up of 35 modules each been printed in 60-90 minutes; the full house has been printed in just 48 hours effective time. The building has been designed to be moved to a new permanent location at the completion of the Salone del Mobile festival.

Printing large scale complex structures

With this project we demonstrated that concrete 3D printing is now ready to create large scale complex structures. 3D printing technology has been key to create the double curved shape of the house and to optimize the structural use of concrete material. Our structural engineering and materials consulting teams developed innovative technical solutions and an original approach to improve the design of the modules as well as the connection details.

With this project we’ve shown that 3D printing technology is now advanced enough to take on more complex structures. ”

Guglielmo Carra Europe Materials Consulting Lead at Arup

The advantages of 3D printing

Main advantages offered by 3D printed buildings include:

  • Sustainability: they offer a sustainable alternative to the traditional construction process, reducing material waste and allowing recycled concrete to be used. 

  • Flexibility: they also offer greater flexibility in the building shape, allowing engineers and architects to generate more complex structures, such as double curved walls, at lower cost. The process allows for on-site construction with few limitations regarding site location. 

  • Affordability: 3D printing is less expensive than traditional construction due to the more efficient use of materials and to a more structured and faster building process. 

  • Accuracy: 3D printing offers a direct transfer of information from the 3D design model into construction operations, therefore it drastically reduces building inconsistencies and potential mistakes.

Digital tools combined with new manufacturing technologies will enable the production of custom made shapes that cannot be produced otherwise. ”

Luca Stabile Italy Building Practice Leader at Arup
The Arup Journal Issue 1 2018
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