Sunday, July 8, 2018

A 3D-Printed House in Nantes

The 3D-printed house in Nantes, France. Image credit: BBC News, July 06, 2018

Nantes in France claims to have the first 3D-printed house ever. 

Yes, you read it correctly – a comfortable residence built in situ for human habitation using a patented 3D printing method called BatiPrint3D, developed by researchers at the University of Nantes.

Basically, they use a laser-guided, four-meter-long robotic arm to deposit layers of different construction materials in a pre-determined shape. Unlike other 3D printing construction processes which exclusively deposit concrete mixtures to build walls, the BatiPrint3D robotic printer extrudes three types of layers: one formwork layer made of a foam-like material, an insulating layer, and a structuring layer made from a special 3D printable concrete mixture.

The four-bedroom property, a collaboration between the University of Nantes, Bouygues Construction, Lafarge Holcim, the Nantes M├ętropole Habitat organization, and TICA architectes & urbanistes – is a prototype for bigger projects aiming to make housebuilding quicker and cheaper. 

According to BBC News, the 95 square meter (1022-square-foot) house took a scant 54 hours to print – with an additional four months for contractors to incorporate windows, doors and the roof and related add-ons. 

The final bill is $207,000 (£176,000) and this makes it 20% cheaper than an identical construction using more traditional solutions. 

The team now believes they could print the same house again in only 33 hours.

The house was the brainchild of Benoit Furet (right), who heads up the project at University of Nantes. He thinks that in five years they will reduce the cost of the construction of such houses by 25% while adhering to building regulations, and by 40% in 10 to 15 years. 

This is partly because of the technology becoming more refined and cheaper to develop and partly because of economies of scale as more houses are built. 

Printing, he adds, also allows architects with greater creative freedom since it lets them use free-flowing shapes in their design. And this particular abode in Nantes was built to curve around the 100-year-old protected trees on the plot. 

Furthermore, the curve improves the home's air circulation, reducing potential humidity and improving thermal resistance. 

The building in Nantes was also designed for disabled people, with wheelchair access and the ability for everything to be controlled from a smartphone. 

Better still, it is also more environmentally-friendly because the building process doesn't create as much waste as conventional construction processes produce. 

The Y-shaped dwelling is equipped with multiple sensors that monitor air quality, humidity and temperature, as well as equipment to evaluate and analyze the thermal properties of the building. And researchers believe this technology will enable tenants to save on energy costs. 

Image credit: Webpage 

The outline of the four bedrooms and the big central space is created. Image credit: BBC News, July 06, 2018 

The printer is then used to print layers from the floor upwards to form the walls. Image credit: BBC News, July 06, 2018 

The space in-between the two printer blocks is filled with cement to form the wall. Image credit: BBC News, July 06, 2018

Francky Trichet, the council's lead on technology and innovation, says the purpose of the project was to see whether this type of construction could become mainstream for housing, and whether its principles could be applied to other communal buildings.

"For 2,000 years there hasn't been a change in the paradigm of the construction process. We wanted to sweep this whole construction process away", he says.

He believes the process will disrupt the construction industry.

Image credits: BBC News, July 06, 2018

Furet is now working on a project to 3D-print 18 houses in Paris, as well as a 700 square meter (7,500-square-foot) commercial building.

In yesterday’s World Cup quarter-final, Sweden were a big let-down and so England came out tops with an easy 2-0 win. 

In the other game, Russia and Croatia both held onto a 2-2 draw but the hosts’ unexpected World Cup run had to end when the latter won 4-3 on penalties. 

At the same time as England were playing in Russia, I also kept my eye on the friendly game between Liverpool and Chester which was on at the same time. Of course, the Reds cruised to a 7-0 victory. 

A really nice start to pre-season. 

BTW, Jurgen Klopp had two different line-ups for the two halves in the match.

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