Building on Demand (BOD), the latest venture of Danish firm 3D Printhuset, marks a major breakthrough for additive manufacturing in construction. The concrete office-hotel structure, occupying just under 50 metres of floor-space, is due to be 3D printed in Nordhaven, Copenhagen’s docklands area, and will be Western Europe’s first inhabitable 3D printed building.
Building on Demand follows the initiative of construction companies like Winsun, TotalKustom, and Apis Cor, who have completed 3D printed construction projects across Russia, Asia, and the Middle East. Researchers at MIT have also harnessed the technology to print a house in two days.
Enter 3D Printhuset
3D Printhuset began as a large shop in Copenhagen in 2014, offering retail products and rapid prototyping services, before extending services to civil engineering and construction in 2016.
In 2017, the firm organised a conference on 3D printed construction.
However, turning ideas into reality was not immediately easy. Henrik-Lund Nielsen, Director at 3D Printhuset, explains, “We encountered considerable scepticism with the technology from the construction industry, which could see some of the potential in 3D printed construction, but also had difficulty in seeing how building permission could be achieved.”
Advantages of 3D printing concrete
The advantages of the 3D Printhuset’s own concrete printing machine have ultimately stood up to scrutiny. The custom-built 3D printer is secured by an external gantry with servo motors adjusting the height. The printable concrete is made of cement, recycled steel and sand.
Jakob Jørgensen, Technical Manager at 3D Printhuset, explained in a press release that 3D printing the building over traditional construction meant that “complex forms can be entered at no additional cost”, while Michael Holm, the company’s development manager, emphasised the use of up-cycling and waste reduction in building materials.
Echoing this, Nielsen is optimistic, expressing hopes that BOD will “inspire others to continue and apply 3D print technology to buildings.”
Featured image: Projection of the finished BOD. Image via: 3D Printhuset.