You sometimes need to be a little skeptical on certain news facts, as a journalist. A news bulletin from earlier this month about ten houses being built in only 24-hours therefore seemed too good to be true – but: newsworthy.
But as pictures of this housing project went viral this week, there is no reason to doubt this 3D printing project anymore. And that means: the Chinese have found a way to mass-produce extremely cheap houses, costing under $5,000 per unit.
Back in 2011, University of Southern California Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis spoke about a new technology that would soon allow massive 3D printers to build entire multi-level houses in under a day.
This month, architects in Amsterdam and China started work on the world's first completely 3D-printed houses. What's the difference between the Amsterdam and Chinese projects?
It depends on your definition of 3D printing apparently. Both projects are using massive 3D printers; in Shanghai, it's 490 feet long, 33 feet wide, and 20 feet deep. Rather than expensive plastic, though, the Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering is printing with a concrete aggregate "made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings," according to the Architect’s Newspaper.
Hobbyist models of 3D printers are currently available for only a few hundred dollars and lets users feed plastics and polymers into a machine, WinSun takes this technology to a bigger level. Using concrete, instead of plastic, the company wants to revolutionize the way homes and other structures are built.
Another difference is that WinSun is printing its houses in pieces, and then fully assembling them on site, at least according to 3Ders.org's recent report. In Amsterdam, every single room, detail, and piece of furniture will emerge fully formed. This is why some commenters are arguing that WinSun's project isn't truly 3D-printed.
But let's not quibble over syntax here. If these claims are true, WinSun is printing an inexpensive, sturdy home in mere hours for very little money. The company says the process would be perfect for fabricating homes for the impoverished and displaced—a major issue in some Chinese cities. In my eyes, that's far closer to the early dream of architectural 3D printing buildings: To harness rapid prototyping to build housing that's cheap, fast, and in the words of WinSun, "dignified."
Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, said it has for years been working on developing the system and its materials. The company owns 77 national patents of construction materials, such as glass fiber reinforced gypsum and special glass fiber reinforced cement. WinSun has plans to build 100 factories in China to "collect and transform" construction waste into aggregate for its machines. Right now, there isn't much more information about the project online, but we've reached out to the company for more information.
For more photos go to https://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/82299