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3D printed house unveiled in Milan

The one-story concrete house features curved walls and can be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere

The 3D printed house is currently located in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria
The 3D printed house is currently located in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria

A new 3D printed house has been unveiled in central Milan as part of the Salone del Mobile design festival by design, planning and engineering firm, Arup, and CLS Architects. It is currently located in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria, covering 100 square metres and features curved walls, a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.


3D Housing 05 was printed on-site by a portable robot in just 48 hours (effective time). It is designed to showcase the role 3D printing can play in reducing construction waste by increasing efficiencies during the building process and allowing materials to be reused at the end of the building’s life, rather than going to landfill.


The single-storey concrete 3D-printed house, claimed to be the first of its kind within the EU, can be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere. Arup, a knowledge partner of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, has applied learnings from its innovative Circular Building, which was constructed out of fully re-usable components.


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. It comprises 35 modules that have each been printed in 60-90 minutes. The building will be moved from the square to a new location after the festival.


We are at Salone del Mobile to build momentum. We need to make a major shift in the way the construction industry operates, away from today’s ‘make, use, dispose’ mentality,” said Guglielmo Carra, Europe materials consulting lead at Arup. “We’ve shown with this building that 3D printing technology is now advanced enough to take on more complex structures, and design buildings to be repurposed or reused at the end of their life.”


A robot from Cybe Construction was used to print the walls, while the roof, windows and doors have been completed afterwards. Italcementi, one of the world’s largest cement suppliers, provided advice for the base concrete mix used during the printing operations.


“This building represents a milestone for 3D printing applied to construction. The industry is fast moving towards increased levels of automation,” said Luca Stabile, Italy building practice leader at Arup. Robots are opening up a number of possibilities for realising the next generation of advanced buildings. Digital tools combined with new technologies will enable the production of custom made shapes that cannot be produced otherwise.”


Arup is also helping an Amsterdam based start-up, MX3D, with 3D printing a steel pedestrian footbridge. Arup is supporting the project with the structural design, testing and monitoring of the bridge. Other landmark 3D printed building projects include the ongoing 3D Print Canal project in Amsterdam and Siemens “Office of the Future” in Dubai. Dubai has an ambitious aim for 25 per cent of its buildings to be based on 3D printing technology by 2030 and the strategy is part of the smart living dimension of its smart city strategy.


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