3D printing is a fairly new concept and beyond the domestic and hobbyist uses it has been applied to, it has also been used to construct limbs. One British architecture firm has a new application for this efficient process: Softskill Design is planning on using 3D printing to construct a house. According to Softskill, the house can be printed in three weeks and built in the course of a single day.
Daniela Walker of PFSK reported that the house will not require any kind of bolting or adhesive. Softskill Design’s Gilles Retsin explained in a statement, “You don’t need any bolting, screwing, or welding on site. Imagine a Velcro or button-like connection. The pieces are extremely light, and they just kind of click together so you don’t need any other material.”
The company seems very confident in its project, however once completed, it is a technology that will most likely be embraced precariously by homeowners. Is it stable? Can it withstand natural disasters? Will it last as long as traditional housing? These are all questions that only time will be able to answer, but if 3D-printed housing is proved to be as adequate and sturdy as traditional housing, the potential is limitless.
Softskill design is hoping to have the project completed by the summer. The “Protohouse 2.0” will be one level, and it will “use the smallest amount of material to achieve the strongest structure.” It is anticipated that this approach will lead to material that is “extremely fibrous and extremely thin.” The printed pieces, De Zeen magazine says, will be small enough to be transported to the building location by van.
Whether or not this technology will replace prefab housing or be offered inexpensively once it has been tested and mass marketed is yet to be seen. It is clear though that 3D printing will be used on an increasingly grand scale and consumers can look forward to many innovations in the near future.
Edited by Jamie Epstein