The Netherlands is about to begin another ground-breaking project in the world of additive construction with a Flintstone-like cluster of five printed concrete houses, earmarked for the city of Eindhoven.
Holland is already leading the way in printed bridges (see further reading), and now it hopes to challenge for leadership in printed homes – the front runner here being France, which successfully printed a five-room dwelling in Nantes earlier this year.
Called "Milestone", the scheme will develop over five years, and the project team hope to make the process slicker as it gets the measure of the practical difficulties involved.
Van Wijnen is the contractor, and the design was by Houben/Van Mierlo architects.
The property side is being handled by Vesteda, with Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix looking after the concrete, and Witteveen + Bos as the engineer. The project is being overseen by the city council and the Technical University of Eindhoven, which has previously worked on 3D -printed bridges.
Thanks to a research group that has formed around Professor Theo Salet, and the university’s concrete printer, TU Eindhoven has become a centre of 3D printing.
A park, the Groenplaats Bosrijk in Eindhoven, will be the setting for the houses, which are meant to resemble boulders deposited by a retreating ice sheet.
From a design point of view their irregular shape is one of the advantages of printing, which can be used to construct "almost any shape", the university said.
Van Wijnen comments on its website: "The houses will be printed one after the other, which means that each can benefit from what was learned on the previous, and can be adapted directly to the wishes of the residents. For example, the first house will be a single-storey structure printed off-site. The ambition is to print the fifth home on location as three layers.
"We see Milestone not as an experiment, but as a pioneering innovation that will cause a stir in the construction sector."
Image: Meet the Milestones: glacial rubble printed for human habitation (Houben/Van Mierlo)